Category Archives for "Instagram Stories"

Feb 10

What Will Work on Social Media in 2020?

Facebook , Instagram , Instagram Stories , LinkedIn , Social Media , Twitter

When I was still wholesaling 401(k) plans in 2013, I was on an advisory board tasked with helping to devise our company’s social media strategy. 

We bought a software system that allowed our field sales reps to push a button and share company-approved social media content. Back then, that was the “safe” way to incorporate social media into our sales process, and it was frankly the only way we could actually use social media to share content. This option was definitely better than nothing at all. For those of us in business development, we all know that the “fortune is in the follow-up” – when people think about you more often than not, you get more shots to win business.

Today, financial services entities allow their registered reps and company staff to do much, much more than just push a button. Many of us are permitted to use social media in ways that are both personalized and specific to our business objectives. For this column, I interviewed three such people who use social media to drive their marketing and business development goals. 

Kate Barton, Marketing Manager at Clearview Advisory 

“In our strategy for social media, we use LinkedIn as a way to stay in touch with people we’ve met or want to work with,” says Barton. “We incorporate it into our drip marketing campaign. We work with small to mid-sized businesses, and some may not have worked with an advisor before. They can be hesitant to sign on the dotted line, and we recognize it takes a while to gain their trust. It’s a big decision to hire an advisor!”

She adds, “LinkedIn and social media allow us to interact with people on a neutral platform and build a relationship over time. We use our own photos and original content almost exclusively and we hire a photographer every couple of years to take fresh photos.”

To highlight two of Barton’s key points:

  • As she said, LinkedIn and social media can be considered “neutral” platforms. In addition to the direct one-on-one follow-up in which we all participate, social media allows us to stay in front of people in an indirect manner. More exposure for you = more people thinking about you = more opportunities.
  • Using their own photos allows Barton and her firm to distinguish themselves from similar firms. I call this “anti-stock” photography. Instead of featuring nameless people on your website, brochures, and social media posts, highlight the people who actually work there. The main thing that differentiates your company from others? Your people. Make sure you show the public you’re real people. 

Derek Notman, CFP 

“I leverage social media by creating a series of short videos that build upon each other to tell a story and take viewers on a journey, which ultimately led to my website which offered even more value, (e.g., a webinar and eBook),” Notman says. “I also made it a point to create a lot more original content that wasn't about selling anything but focused on the benefits and outcomes of my services. Both of these led to exponential growth and sales.” 

He adds: “A strategy I would recommend using: create short, personalized videos to send as direct messages and via email. My response rate was drastically higher, and I also receive a lot of positive feedback about how personal and different my approach is.”

Notman does a great job here of highlighting the power of video. Fifteen years ago, YouTube didn’t exist, and even if you were lucky enough to have good-quality video to share, how would you have shared it? Today your website and social media accounts allow you to distribute video for free, and what better way is there to have people “experience” what you’re like in real life? So consider adding video to your marketing mix in 2020 if you haven’t already.

Alyssa Rock, Bolder B2B Marketing

“I partner directly with our top sales executives and internal thought leaders who have the best LinkedIn networks (clients and prospects) and provide the correct content, hashtags, and even emojis for them to post on their profiles, Rock says. “I prefer using their personal pages instead of LinkedIn company social media pages/showcase pages.”

The point of social media “is to be social and spark engagement,” Rock points out. “We convert leads faster when the content is shared on the personal profiles of those with boots on the ground. I leverage these tactics heavily around trade shows and webinars and consistently outperform any paid placement.”

She hits the nail on the head. You’ll never meet someone who loves LinkedIn company pages and the ability to hyper-focus on targeted prospects with LinkedIn ads than Yours Truly. However, as much as we all love our company’s brand, our clients and prospective clients prefer connecting with individuals – like you.

Is what Rock suggests scalable? Nope. And that’s the point. Personal touches (i.e., the thing that best drives business and engenders trust) outperforms robo-messaging, and it will continue to do so. Rock acts as an accountability partner of sorts for her executives. They know they need to participate in the content creation process, but not take on that burden entirely themselves.

In 2020, your clients and prospective clients will use social media more and more, and if you’re not showing up in some capacity, you’re going to miss opportunities to win business. Here’s my top suggestion for implementing a strategy that will take hold and stick: First create a “not doing” list and write all the tactics down that you’re knowingly not implementing. Not on Twitter? Great! Give yourself credit for something you’re not doing. Instagram? Is that a thing these days? Nope, not using it.

Once you create a long, long list of what you’re not doing, list three things you’ll actually do in 2020  like weekly LinkedIn posts, monthly videos or a one-time photo shoot, for example. The revisit your list of “not doing” items, feel great about them, and focus on the activities that drive results. 

Jan 06

How to Take Your Instagram from Personal to Professional

Instagram , Instagram Stories , Social Media

Today, utilizing social media can be the number one way to get your business started. The large number of users over social media platforms makes it possible for your business to gain recognition quickly. Not only is Instagram saturated with users looking for content to follow, but Instagram allows for personal pages to become specific for business.

How can you make your personalized Instagram professional?

Follow these eight steps:

  1. Go to your profile and tap  in the upper right corner.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap Account.
  4. Tap Switch to Professional Account.
  5. Tap Business.
  6. If you'd like, you can follow the steps to connect your professional account to a Facebook Page associated with your business. This step is optional, and will make it easier to use all of the features available for businesses across the Facebook family of apps. At this time, only one Facebook Page can be connected to your professional account.
  7. Add details, like your business category and contact information.
  8. Tap Done.

By creating a professional account, you are able to gain access to business features and Instagram Insights. These insights help you as a business owner to better understand the demographic of your audience. Understanding your audience can help you to create better content to resonate with those users. By clicking the '39 profile visits in the last 7 days' at the top of the page, you can then access your Instagram business insights.

    Another way to view your insights:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap .
  3. Tap Insights.
  4. Select specific posts, stories or promotions you'd like to view insights on. You can also learn more about your audience.

You also have the option to display or hide your business category and contact information on your profile. After setting up, go to your profile and tap Edit Profile. Go to Profile Display under Public Business Information to choose whether you want to hide or display your category label and contact info. Then, tap Done.

Create Ads directly from Instagram:

The most convenient feature Instagram offers after creating your business page is running ads directly from the app. You can use the promotions button to run post ads or story ads.

Creating a promotion can also be accomplished by selecting the post on your profile you wish to promote. You then can select the blue 'promote' button on the right side. This will then redirect you to selecting the promotion details.

To Create an Ad from Instagram:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap Promotions.
  3. Tap Create Promotion at the bottom.
  4. Choose a post you'd like to promote.
  5. Tap Next at the upper-right corner.
  6. If you didn’t link to a Facebook Page when you set up your Instagram professional account, you will be prompted to connect a Page. You can choose an existing Page or tap Skip.
  7. Fill in the details of your promotion by setting things like Destination (where to send people), Audience (who you want to reach), Budget (how much you want to spend daily) and Duration (how long you want your promotion to run). Tap Next once you've completed these details.
  8. To complete your promotion, tap Create Promotion under Review.

Instagram will then put your promotion into the 'review' process. Once reviewed and approved, your ad will then begin running on the Instagram platform. Your promotion must meet their ad policy requirements in order to be approved in the reviewing process. Once your promotion is running, you can review its insights by selecting the Promotions button.

    To Delete your Promoted Post on Instagram:

    If you wish to delete a promoted ad from your profile, you must first delete the original promotion. If the promotion has already ended, you must first delete the original promotion.

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Tap Promotions.
  3. Tap View Insights under the promoted post you'd like to delete.
  4. Scroll to the bottom and tap Delete Promotion.
  5. Go back to your profile.
  6. Tap the post you want to delete.
  7. Tap ...
  8. Select Delete and confirm that you want to remove this post.

There are many more features that your business can use to enhance its Instagram account such as:

  1. Control your viewers age
  2. Change your call-to-action button
  3. Connecting to Business Facebook 
  4. Promoting your website

These steps can always be reversed and your account can be switched back over to a personal account.

For more information and helpful tips on Instagram visit: https://help.instagram.com/

Is your business Instagram set up to be a professional page? Did you know you could access the insights from within the Instagram app? We hope this was helpful!

Dec 23

How to Use Instagram Highlights to Enhance Your Profile

Instagram , Instagram Stories , Social Media

Using Instagram Story Highlights to Enhance Your Profile

Instagram highlights have given businesses and social media influencers a new way to showcase their brand. Since the story highlights live front-and-center on Instagram profiles, they are the perfect tool to represent your niche. 

Creating highlights and strategically planning their purpose is just as important as your permanent posts. Although the posts should be candid, each one should be categorized. 

So first...

To Share a Photo or Video to your Story Using the Instagram App:

1. Tap  (or the plus sign) in the top left of your screen or swipe right from anywhere in Feed. 

2. Tap  at the bottom of the screen to take a photo, or tap and HOLD to record a video. To choose a photo or video from your phone's library or gallery, swipe up anywhere on the screen.

3. Tap  or  to draw, add text or a sticker to your photo or video. To remove text or a sticker, drag and drop it on  at the bottom of the screen.

As you can see here, Instagram allows you to add customized locations, polls, stickers, text, and more!

4. Once you have your story designed just the way you want it tap Your Story in the bottom left.

Instagram stories can be still images, videos, boomerangs, or to be recorded live.

You also have the option to use the 'create' tool which provides themed background wallpapers.

Superzoom is a feature that allows you to zoom in on objects with dramatic sound effects. This feature is available for both front and back facing cameras. 

Hands-free is a story feature which allows you to record without holding the  button at the bottom of the screen.

Unless added to your profile as a highlight, stories disappear from your Feed, Profile and Direct inbox after 24 hours.

Did you say boomerang? Yes!

What is a Boomerang?

Boomerangs are created by taking very short, very fast burst of photos and combining them together to create a mini video. The video will play forward and backwards repeatedly to create a unique piece of content. 

Now that we created the story...

How Does a Story Become a Permanent Piece of Content on Your Profile?

Once a story is posted on your profile you will then be given the option to make it a highlight. After 24 hours, if the highlight is created, the content will still be visible on your profile. The highlights are located at the top of your profile, making it easy to locate them at any time.

To Add a Story to a Highlight:

1. Go to your profile and tap Story Highlights below your username and bio.

2. Tap

3. Tap to select the story or stories you want to add to highlights, then tap Next

4. Tap Edit Cover > Choose a cover photo > Tap Done

5. Enter a story name for your highlight, then tap Add (iPhone) or Done (Android). You can add more photos or videos to your highlight at any time by tapping and holding on the highlight and then tapping Edit Highlight.

Once your story becomes a highlight, you can then edit the cover photo. We use Canva.com to create our highlight images. There is no limit as to how many highlights you can create on your profile. However, only five (on mobile) or seven (on desktop) will appear without scrolling to the left.

Each highlight can contain 100 photos. For example, the AmpliPhi 'holiday' highlight can contain 100 photos of our team celebrating holidays and they will not expire from the profile until manually deleted.  

To Edit or Delete a Highlight:

  1. Go to your profile.
  2. Below Stories Highlights, find the story you want to delete then tap and hold.
  3. Tap Delete Highlight to remove the story from Stories Highlights, or tap Edit Highlight to add more photos or videos to your story.

To Edit or Delete a Photo or Video from a Highlight:

  1. Open your story highlight and find the photo or video you want to remove.
  2. Tap More (iPhone) or More (Android) in the bottom right of the photo or video.
  3. Tap Remove from Highlight or tap Edit Highlight to add more photos or videos to your story.

Although the exact date of the posted story is not displayed, a rough timeline in weeks is. As seen to the right, our 'Dominos' highlight was posted 12w (or 12 weeks) ago. 

This 'Dominos' highlight is a direct reference to a permanent instagram post displayed on the profile. This can be a great tool for posting longer videos or utilizing different assets of media. 

Other highlight ideas can include testimonials, company achievements, employee advocacy, education, reviews, Instagram takeovers and more!

How have you been using Instagram Story highlights on your profile? Was this helpful? Check out https://help.instagram.com/1660923094227526 for more information on Instagram how-to's. 

May 15

A Great Example of Using Instagram Stories

Instagram , Instagram Stories , Social Media

A Great Example of Using Instagram Stories

With social media there are so many ways to spend 5 minutes (let’s be real, 30 minutes) endlessly scrolling. This time I was glad I chose Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories is a feature that lets users post photos and videos that vanish after 24 hours. A lot of people I follow use this feature the same way they use the main platform on Instagram, which is fine. But it isn’t exactly what the best use of it is.

Below is a fantastic example, in my opinion, of a proper Instagram Story. It’s about an absolutely amazing cause and a girl’s search for a decent snack.

Meet Stefanie Miller. She’s been one of my (Helen) besties for more than 15 years.

I generally don’t check out a ton of Stories, but this first image drew me in because I love ❤ coconut chips…and she dissed them. She also introduced Healing Heels, an incredible organization you’ll learn about below.

IG Story

Stefanie’s obviously in search of something particular.

IG Story

Can you sense the sarcasm?

Up until this point, each visual was just an image. The picture below was actually a video unveiling Stef’s pair of shoes. She uses the Superzoom/Dramatic effect to give it the anticipation it deserves.

The next 3 images were also videos opening containers to find more healthy snacks. Make sure you read the copy on the images. It’s hilarious.

These are her shoes! Learn more about the shoes below. This specific piece of content was a video using the Boomerang effect.

If you can’t tell what this is, it’s a half-drank bottle of wine with the cork inside the bottle. We’ve all been there, am I right?!

The warm and fuzzy part starts now! ?

As you can tell, Stefanie tells the story through copy on the images.

Don’t forget #hashtags

She’s going through and giving visual examples of their products.

And tagging friends so they can see your story

Remember, you can also draw on your images to point things out as you can see below with the reddish arrow and circle pointing out the random pair of Sidne’s.

There is Stefanie spreading love!

Promote. Promote. Promote! See how she did this… it’s well into the story, so it doesn’t seem like a sales pitch. It just makes sense and flows perfectly.

Back to snacks!

A little off subject, but I wouldn’t be a marketer with mentioning kudos to Healing Heels on the personalized message on this shoebox. For every patient that is gifted a pair of Healing Heels because someone else bought a pair they personalize the shoebox with inspiration to help get them through treatments. ?

Still hungry! ??‍♀️

The image below was actually a video using the timelapse effect. It showed them working to separate all the orders and shipping labels.

And finally, snacks were had. ?

There are many reasons why I think this is so well done. Stefanie just did such a wonderful job telling the story. The whole progression spanned a total of 5 hours and depicted so much. This story showed happiness, humor, inspiration, gratitude, empowerment, love, hope, and of course, (h)anger.

I also love the behind the scenes footage that was captured as part of the Healing Heels process. Their mission is powerful and Stefanie did a great job of explaining the story while making a heavy topic fun.

Create. create. create!

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