4 Hashtag Creation Resources

Instagram Tips - 4 Hashtag Resources

Captions, Hashtags and Being Pun-Tastic

Sometimes [often times] I find myself having a creative block when it’s time to come up with effective hashtags and unique ways to caption my Instagram posts. Instead of spending hours trying to think of something catchy, a pun-inspired caption or lyrics related to my pic, I use the following blog posts to get my photos hashtagged and ready for viewers. Enjoy!

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#Winning On Instagram – Secrets To Increasing Your Engagement

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Currently, the social media channel that consumes half of my free time is Instagram with Snapchat just barely coming in second. But I’ve found that keeping up with the most recent social media channels can be almost as challenging as herding cats. To avoid making yourself or your business look like an amateur on Instagram, I put together a list of my favorite tips that can help you become an Instagram pro!

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6 Ways To Instantly Improve Your Website

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What if you could control what people thought of your business before they ever got the chance to meet you face to face and shake your hand? I’ve got good news…. you can! A website is a first impression for anyone who doesn’t know you yet. Many times, people will find your website through search engines such as Google or through other people talking about you on social media. With so many tools available to build your own website, many are quick to think “this will be easy!” WordPress, Wix and Squarespace are all great places to get started with many tutorial sources available. You have a website, but does it do what you want it to do? Have you thought of a strategy for how your website will perform? Are you converting your visitors to readers? Customers? Fans? Based on experiences in different industries and different types of websites, I’ve compiled a list of six “universal” ways to instantly improve your website.

#1 – Convert Your Visitors

Whether the goal of your website is to sell a product online, inform new customers about your brand or service or simply gain a following for your blog, you want to be converting your visitors. What does converting a visitor mean? It means either they buy your product, leave their information with you so you can contact them or they can easily find how to email or call you directly from your site. There are several tools out there to help you convert visitors depending on which platform your site is on. Add an email subscription pop up to your site so whenever someone lands on your site, they are given the option to leave their contact information. Yes – these can be annoying, but you have to make it easy for people to subscribe or sign up for email reminders. Add a contact form or ask a question box on every page of the site. Include a contact button in the main menu navigation so users will find it in an obvious place. Include you NAP information in the header or nav. The idea is to make it as easy as possible for site visitors to convert.

#2 – Be User Friendly

I never stop hearing from clients about how they much love the Apple website – and I 100% agree. I may be bias since I have to have Apple everything, but do you know why the Apple website is so appealing? Simple: it’s user friendly. It’s easy to navigate and easy to find what you’re looking for. Keep your menu short with 5-7 main menu options. Make the answers to visitors questions about you or your product easy to get to with organized navigation in sub menus. Make the purchase process simple. Make it easy for the visitor to get in touch with you. Keep the content clean and organized. Leave room for white space. An easy way to test your site is to have a friend or family member spend 15-20 minutes clicking through the pages and giving their feedback on how they think the site flows.

#3 – Tell Your Story

Just because you might be in an industry or business that isn’t necessarily interesting or new doesn’t mean you can’t make it interesting and new. Use your website to tell your story. Who are you? Where did you come from? How did you get here? What are your goals? Who works for you? What’s their story? Who are your customers? What’s their story? How are you helping them? How can you help me? How are you better than your competitors? Many of these questions are meant to be answered creatively and in a way that draws a potential customer in, yearning to learn more. It’s the story of your business or blog. Add a page to your site with the story, then add a main menu option “Our Story” or “Who We Are” or “About”. You can also include it in a slider banner on your home page. People are more interested than you might think to learn about your story and what you’re all about. Talk about you, I want to know!

 

#4 – Call To Action

Does every page on your website have a call to action? This doesn’t necessarily have to be a conversion. Does it urge the visitor to do something, such as go to another page, fill out a form, call, add to cart, see what’s new, suggest another post, etc..? Your home page isn’t the only place where a call to action is important. Look at the different pages you have and see if you can find opportunities to add a clearer action item for new visitors. Tell them where to go or what to do next.

#5 –  Social Media

If you don’t have social media pages, I suggest creating some. You don’t have to get crazy with it by creating 10 different profiles. Depending on what you do, I only suggest certain platforms. Your website is a great place to connect customers and new visitors with your business social profiles. Add social media icons to the header or footer of your website. Add buttons such as “like us on Facebook” or “Pin to Pinterest” to different pages or posts. Social media is meant to be a place where you pull back the curtain of what happens behind the scenes at your business and show customers a closer picture of what you do and why. You can use this to your advantage by attracting new customers.

#6 – Add a blog feed

Adding a blog feed to a website is a great way to keep the site fresh in Google’s eyes. If a website is constantly being updated and adding new content, it’ll stay on the top of Google’s mind. But before you go blog crazy, be very cognizant of who your readers are and what they care most about. Writing sales-y articles that are constantly mentioning “come to me!” “buy me!” “I’m the best!” isn’t the best approach. Answer a common question in your category, appeal to your audience and be genuine in your topics. One place to start when trying to think of a topic? Google.

So, what kind of things make your website successful? Do you have any tips to share that could help improve a website? I’m excited to hear what other tips are out there! Please leave a comment below or contact me to start a discussion 🙂

~Mary E. Robb

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5 Social Media Post Ideas For Local Businesses

social media posts for small businesses

 

Establishing an online presence starts with two things: a solid website and a solid social media following. Whether you are a small business, a one person shop or simply striving to promote your blog, having a social media presence is essential to your online success.

How do you get there? Share things people want to see and care about. Share things that people will want to share with their own friends or followers. Share your story. Follow my five tips for posting on social media channels and watch your engagement increase drastically!

| 1. Social Media Posting: Rule Of Thirds |

When thinking of different ideas and topics for your social media channels, keep this simple trick in mind: the rule of thirds. Your posting strategy should consist of the following: 1/3 selling, 1/3 educating and 1/3 sharing.

Selling – this means explaining what you or your product/service does. You can share photos of what you do or share the latest “special” or “promotion” for your products. Social media is an easy and FREE outlet for promoting yourself, but beware – only using your social media sites to sell will lose engagement and could even turn off your followers.

Educating – this means sharing blog posts you’ve written or really great articles that discuss the product or service you offer. Educating your following about what you do is different than selling. For example, if you sell an antioxidant drink that does amazing things for your body, you would share an educational article that explains what antioxidants are and why they’re beneficial.

Sharing – I typically see the most engagement in these kinds of posts. This is sharing a funny meme, a viral article, a local news article or event in your city, photos of your customers, photos of you, celebrations, etc.. The idea is establishing an interpersonal connection with your followers while also being a community expert. It’s about sharing things that most people can relate to or have an interest in.

*Note – it is never a good idea to share political or religious views unless you are 150% open to subjecting both you and your company to other people’s views as well. Either way, I advise against it.

| 2. Share Links To Your Website |

Social media profiles are great opportunities to drive more traffic to your website or blog. I get the most site views whenever I share links back to my blog. For many of my clients, I see the same results. Facebook or Instagram are especially great for sharing blog posts or pages on your site, linking your followers to your website. You should have a website before you have a social media page, but the two work together and I recommend you have both – you won’t be as successful with just one over the other.

| 3. Share Video |

When you scroll through your Facebook or Instagram feed, what are you noticing the most? Videos are becoming more and more popular. Facebook’s recent update allows for videos to play in your news feed without the need to hit “play”. A quick 15-20 second demo of your product or a 30 second intro of yourself can draw hundreds to thousands of views. Sharing video generates the most viewers and is the fastest way to get your message across. Simply upload your video to YouTube and share the link across all profiles, such as Facebook and Instagram.

| 4. Share Photos |

Just like videos, photos are also very important. While you are able to make a status update on Facebook or Twitter with no photo, I advise against it simply because it won’t get as many views as a photo would. Social media users want to see things faster than they can read them. If you have a photo that is intriguing, it’ll lead to them reading what you want them to know.

| 5. Share Local Events Or News |

This is a good strategy if you need more engagement. Typically, if I see a social profile struggling to get views, I’ll start sharing popular news stories or viral articles to get back into the algorithm of the newsfeed of the page’s followers. This will quickly generate more viewers and allow other posts back into their feed. As you may or may not know, you don’t see every single post of every person you friend or follow. You only see posts of the pages or people you interact with the most. So this simple trick is to help get you back on the mind of your followers.

I hope you found something here you haven’t heard of before or at least feel refreshed on the things you already know. If you have any questions or comments about the best social media strategies to generate engagement, please feel free to comment below or email me at hello@maryerobb.com <3

social media tips for small businesses
5 tips to get your social media up to par.
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Strategy: A Definition & Why It Matters

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It doesn’t matter what scenario you plug it into, it’s always important to have a strategy. How do I define strategy? In short, it’s simply a plan. In long, a well thought out actionable item designed to improve or increase something (i.e. sales) that includes a goal, steps in place to reach that goal, and lastly ways to measure the success of the strategy put in place.

Strategy is the bread and butter of marketing and advertising, but often times looked over. I can’t help but often wonder why this is so? I’ve come to a few conclusions based off observations of others and even myself: lack of focus, too many tasks at hand, a level of comfort, use of copy and paste strategies, lack of innovation, use of strategies that were created five years ago that are no longer relevant and/or engaging, lack of creativity, auto-pilot mode kicks in and poof there it goes; right out the window.

I’m definitely not perfect and am willing confess I sometimes hit walls. The good thing about working on a team is that if I can’t find a solution or come up with a different yet creative way of thinking or communicating, I can collaborate. To me, this is simply a fresh approach to the amazing reward that comes with planning, brainstorming and organizing thoughts into one gorgeous, electrifying, profitable and STRATEGIC marketing plan. It’s simply what we do, and that’s why we love it!

So…why strategy? Well, here’s a thought: have you ever wondered how a business is started? One of the first things an entrepreneur does (well a smart one) is they put together a business plan – or strategy – if you will. Typically it outlines the concept of the business, finances, timelines, marketing plans, goals and how the goals will be reached, products/services, markets served, and staffing of management and key employees. An entrepreneur comes up with a great idea or product – but in order for it to play out the way they envision it, they must put together a plan. If any elements are missing from the plan, they most likely will miss the mark, won’t reach the goal, and sometimes, unfortunately…. completely fail.

The same idea applies to a marketing plan. Marketing largely contributes to a companies success. Alongside the sales team, it sells the product or service. Without a proper strategy, marketing simply doesn’t work.

How do you come up with a good strategy? Depending on what tactic you’re going after, the first thing to do is research in order to have a better understanding of current trends. The way we view media and are served ads has changed and continues to change at the most rapid pace ever in history. With the super fast pace of changing technology, it is a MUST to stay on top of the newest, latest, greatest advertising tactics and platforms. Magazine and newspaper circulation is on the decline, physical pieces of mail that go inside your mailbox outside on your street have decreased, live TV viewership is heading south, mobile device usage is on the rise and has been over the past decade. Traditional advertising mediums such as TV stations and newspaper companies are opening new departments specifically for the digital ad space. Google, Bing, Yahoo, pay per click ads, display ads, online video ads and mobile app ads are more present than ever before. Staying on top of the trends and learning how these platforms work, how their algorithms perform and who they’re reaching is the biggest and number one way to stay on top of your marketing strategy. Hire an advertising agency that has experienced, qualified leaders in their digital departments if you need advice and help pulling your head out of the sand caused by this sudden dust storm they’re referring to as the digital revolution. Or, if there are budget limitations hire someone who has worked in these agencies.

Once you have a solid understanding of the current advertising trends and platforms, the second most important thing to have is a strong, actionable message. Who are you going after? What are you trying to tell them? What do they want? How will you give it to them? Do they know you have something they might need? How do you make them realize it? Consumers are losing focus. With Mom on her iPad looking at Pinterest recipes, Jimmy on his Android listening to Jay Z, Sarah on her MacBook chatting it up on FaceTime with her friend traveling abroad in Spain, Jane on the Smart TV watching Netflix and Dad on his iPhone watching video clips on his SportsCenter app, it’s important to catch these people’s attention who are getting more and more used to getting what they want when they want by a simple tap and slide of a finger. With the right messaging, you can break through. Think about your product. Think about your target audience/consumer. Creatively yet strategically marry the two.

Lastly, there needs to be a timeline in place with actionable items to follow through with. Set the goal, list out what needs to be done in order to reach the goal (tactics), and next to each tactic list a date it needs to be done by. During the process, be sure to check in on these important dates to make sure smaller tactics are being done. At the end, it’s always important to reflect and look for benchmarks of both success and failure of the strategy. Take what you learned both good and bad and refine your next strategy. As you’ve heard, with time things get better, stronger, smarter and quicker. Efficiency is the goal but without innovation, creativity and strategy you’ll never reach ultimate success.

In short, putting together or refining strategy is an ongoing process that should never take the back burner. There’s many exciting things happening out there in the world of marketing and advertising and more tools than ever to make it successful.

The fun thing about marketing is you can apply a lot of the same principles to business in general.

And just to further dwell on my statements above regarding mobile usage, this entire entry was written on an iPhone 6 with WFAA on mute in the background. But don’t worry. I’ve already scheduled an appointment for my carpal tunnel screening. Happy Monday y’all!

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Call Me Tweet Me

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The Twitter revolution is upon us. Teens, pre-teens and young adults are doing it- twittering and tweeting all day long (yes-I like to call it twittering). All the hype caught the attention of many fortune 500 companies and popular television shows. Business owners are learning the benefit of using Twitter to raise brand awareness and generate leads. It’s become apparent that the value of the hashtag is higher than ever. #GetWithIt or #GetLost.

Twitter in a nutshell: born in 2006, the most current social media platform used to promote oneself or one’s business in 140 or less characters per tweet (message).

Personal Impact? I get the most current news before it’s ever aired on TV, written in a newspaper, or blogged about online. I prefer to follow the nationwide news networks such as The Associated Press @AP, @CNN, @FoxNews and CNN Breaking News @CNNbrk. I also follow local networks, such as @WFAAChannel8, @Fox4, @CBSDFW and @NBCDFW. I knew about the missing Malaysian airplane before Malaysia even knew it was missing. #Whoah (not really-but close).

I also use it to keep up with my Twitter-saavy friends who tweet about their Chipotle burritos, favorite song lyrics, today’s #OOTD (outfit of the day) or last weekend’s festivities. Sometimes I wish I had more time to tweet my daily activities. *Sigh*

Ever heard of live tweeting? That’s fun too:  you can tweet with real live celebrities while your favorite TV shows are on air. I have successfully done it and am proud to say Amy Yancey of AE’s Flipping Vegas and I tweet. Just because it was once doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. She follows me.

Business Impact? The good news is, nearly any size business can use Twitter in the same way. Who wouldn’t want to join in on free brand awareness?  It isn’t hard to come to the realization that nearly every major brand has a Twitter handle. The possibilities are endless. Delta created a Twitter handle specifically for customer service. They answer questions and complaints from customers through tweets. McDonalds gives out free prizes through their twitter handle. That’s right- FREE! #OMG #SuperSizeMe Levi Strauss & Co. tweets about current sales and promotions going on in stores. Learn about upcoming sales at favorite clothing stores before anyone else! Need some humor in your life? Oreo uses their Twitter handle to tweet pictures of Oreos featuring funny messages throughout the day. Brand awareness at its finest. Note to self- don’t scroll through Twitter feed during mid-afternoon productivity lull.

But wait – there’s more! Now you can ADVERTISE on Twitter. Crazy, right? Wrong. The strategy is very similar to Facebook if not identical. You can target as broad or as narrow as you please. You pick your main goal whether it be profile views, site views, engagement, leads etc. Finally you decide whether you’d like Twitter to automatically optimize the campaign/budget for you – or if you know how – you can manually optimize. These days you can advertise practically anywhere online. Except Instagram. They still think they’re too cool for all that (unless you’re Disney or Fossil). We shall see if this changes.. LinkedIn has also started swimming in the advertising pool. This should take off pretty quickly as it is also set up in the same way as Facebook and Twitter. Back to the main topic.

How many people use Twitter these days? According to DMR (Digital Marketing Ramblings), there are approximately 255 million Twitter users as of April 2014. Facebook still has a remarkably larger amount of users, coming in at an estimated 1.28 billion users as of April 2014. Instagram has almost tied with Twitter: 200 million users as of March 2014. Another one you might be familiar with: Pinterest, which has 70 million users as of July 2013

Join the revolution. Follow the me at @MaryERobb 🙂

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