social media

Stay Up-to-date with these 10 Social Media Platform Changes

 

Several platforms rolled out changes this week. Here's a quick run-down on some of them.

Facebook:

The "Log In As Your Page" option has been disappearing and will soon be gone for good. We can still do the things we did before (viewing the feeds of the pages we liked, commenting and liking other page posts, etc.) but we just need to do it differently. It's alittle more cumbersome but just like all other Facebook changes, we'll get used to it.

In this video, Grandma Mary (Andrea Vahl), shows us how:

 

For the full story, read Andrea's article here.

Pinterest has several new updates.

How-to Pins: this is exciting for pInterest users because DIY pins will soon be able to show a snapshot of the project directions right below the pin image. I'll be curious to see how this affects bloggers as Pinterest users may not even need to click over to the website anymore. If you'd like to try this option for your DIY website, you can request it here.

Universal Pin Descriptions: Pins now have description that are automatically created using a variety of sources instead of the note from the original pinner. This can be good or bad. The good: repinning becomes easier because you don't need to recreate a description. The bad: your pin descriptions may not carry through when others repin.

(Rich Pins will stil carry the original title and metadescription that appears so you may want to apply for rich pins very soon.)

Also, if you have Rich Pins, there will be a change to their descriptions in order to make them less redundant. Their descriptions will now be hidden in the feeds because Rich Pins already have a title and short description attached. Check your website's metadata to make sure the best title and description are showing up.

Repin counts: Pinterest now counts likes and repins for a piece of content throughout all of Pinterest instead of just for a specific pin. Tis should encourage Pinterest users to not rely on just one popular pin for social proof and to provide consistent value to other PInterest users.

Change in aspect ratio The maximum aspect ratio for Pins will be reduced from 1:3.5 to 1:2.8. This means that anything taller than that will be cut off so you'll need to adjust your image sizes accordingly.

White will now be the background color on the app so Pinterest will now add a bit of gray to those images that are mostly white. If you have images with drop shadows, this might affect you.

Instagram

The algorhithm - lots of Instagram users panicked and began posting images with reminders to "turn on post notifications" so that Instagram users would not miss their posts. I can see why - we all know what happened on Facebook. I don't think we need to panic. If one of your followers really didn't want to miss one of your updates, they would have turned them on already. 

Instagram stated The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.”  –

Longer videos and the ability to make videos from multiple clips on your iOs camera. Videos can now be 60 seconds long. Of course, the longer videos will be excellent for advertisers, as well.

The ability to view notifications on the Instagram desktop version - YAY!  You'll find these under the heart icon on the upper right of the page. You can also now delete comments very easily.

 

The Explore Tab is also now viewable on desktop. You'll find it to the left of the notifications icon (as above). The explore tab is great for finding new people to follow. You'll notice that as you like on comment on certain Instagram posts, more of the same will show up in your Explore feed.
 

Social media is an ever-changing, always expanding media experience. It's important to keep up with the changes in order to maximize your opportunity on your chosen  platforms.  Sign up for our newsletter so that you can stay up-to-date.

 

 

 

Quick Tip for Managing Multiple Instagram Accounts

Quick tip.jpg

Instagram has recently made it easier to manage multiple Instagram accounts, but each Instagram account still 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”.

 

 

 

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 You Time and Increase Effectiveness

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 following recipe that allows the image to appear as native on Twitter.  True images get more engagement.

 

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.)

 

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.)

 

 

 

 

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.)

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.)

IFTTT t @mention.PNG

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.

 

These 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?

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.

Update all of your apps! Most app updates are security patches and can help to thwart hackers.

CLICK TO TWEET

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 LastPass1Password, 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.

14 Places To Share Your Newest Blog Post

As website owners, we’re always happy to complete an article for our blog. It’s a way to provide a service to our community by sharing quality information. It’s also a way to bring readers to our website.  But our community won’t derive any value from our content unless they read it and they won’t be able to read it if they aren’t aware of it.

That’s why writing a blog post is just the beginning.  Now it’s time to get the word out. So how do we do that?

 

1.  Share to your social media platforms.

Once you’ve published an article on your blog, you’ll want to share its link to your social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook (personal [if appropriate] and business), Linked in, Google+, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc., depending upon which social media sites you are utilizing.  I would recommend setting up a Google+ account and posting your blogs there just for the search capabilities alone. Other people might argue with me about this, but I think it’s worth the effort.  (For help setting up your Google+ account, I have a very inexpensive and easy-to-follow training here.)

When using Pinterest, be sure to choose a compelling image to attach to your article so that it will receive more attention.

Don’t forget to share in your appropriate social media “groups”, as well.

2. Publish on LinkedIn

Publishing directly to LinkedIn is another way to get in front of a different audience. Published posts become part of your LinkedIn professional profile and help to position you as an expert. With this process, you have the ability to reach one of the largest groups of professionals ever assembled.

3. Set up a tweet ring.

By using a service like TwitterFeed, you and a few like-minded friends can automatically share each other’s new blog posts to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. You simply add their RSS feed to the platform and it takes over from there.  You can hook this into your bit.ly account in order to keep track of the link shares.

4.Join Social Buzz Club

Somewhat like a twibe or a tweet ring, members share each other’s content via a gamification process which brings knowledge of your article to a whole new set of people.  For more information about Social Buzz Club, go HERE.

5. Join Triberr

Triberr is a platform consisting of tribes.  A “tribe” is a group of people (typically bloggers) organized into like groups and committed to sharing each other’s content. So for instance, if you were a food blogger, you would join a tribe of other food bloggers.  When you follow the tribe, their newly published blog posts show up in your stream so that, if you want to, you can share their content with your community members.  They have the opportunity to share yours.

6.  Submit your articles toquality article directories.

Article directories such as EzineArticles.com are great places to submit your articles. Here they will be found by people searching for specific subjects.  They may even be reposted, and credited to you by using the bio and URL that you post in your author box.  Ask around to find the best article directories for your niche.

7. Consider publishing directly to Medium

Medium takes a bit of experimentation to see which articles work best, but it is yet another way to sprinkle your content across the internet. Medium articles seem a bit more artistic and thought-provoking than many business articles.

Remember to add a call to action at the end of your article but on Medium, your CTA should be much softer than on other platforms.

8. Make a Slide Share

If you can turn your blog post into a slide share, it would be beneficial to post to this platform. It is currently under-utilized and thus, a good slide share has the potential to reach a large audience and receive a significant share of attention.

9. Comment on other blogs.

In order to make blog readers aware of you and your blog, comment on blogs that are related to yours.  Position yourself as the expert by providing additional great content.  Be sure to register on a site that will enable your photo and information to show up when you post a response.  Gravitar.com is one that will work with most WordPress blogs.  There is also http://disqus.com/ (blogs using Disqus use this). Blogger.com and IntenseDebate.com are 2 others to consider.

 

10.  Revive Old Posts (formerly Tweet Old Posts)

There is an application called Revive Old Posts  that will randomly select an article from your website and share it to your followers via Twitter, Facebookand Linkedin.  It’s easy to set up and you can choose how often you want to share.  Every 3-4 hours would be fine but you’ll want to be sure that you have enough articles posted on your blog so that the same ones aren’t being shared over and over.  The one problem I see with this method is that some posts aren’t evergreen and as such, they may not make sense when shared later.

11.  Participate in blog challenges.

Generally a blog challenge compels you to write a certain number of blog posts in a certain amount of time. The community usually shares each other’s blog posts on social media sites. By participating in a blog challenge, you get accountability, motivation and reciprocity.

12. Share it in your newsletter.

Some people choose to share their article in their newsletter before publishing on their blog. This is to reward subscribers by sharing new content with them first. Whether you choose to share before publishing or after, a newsletter is a great way to get your article in front of your community.

13. Create a mini-podcast.

Could your blog article be turned into a mini podcast? Because your community may prefer to digest information in a different way (audio vs. visual), create a podcast and publish it to iTunes.

14.  Create tips Extract tips from your blog posts to share on Twitter. Add the appropriate hashtag in order to get in front of community members who could benefit from your content.

Making a blog stand out can result in higher traffic, dedicated readers and ultimately more purchasers of your products and services.  So remember: once you’ve written your blog post, your work is not complete until you’ve followed at least some of the steps above.

Image credit: DepositPhotos.com

What The Professional Photographer Needs to Know About Social Media

In the not-too-distant past, photographers were able to rely on their photography to speak for them in order to create their success and although there was competition, it was not as fierce as it is now. Due in large part to the ability to enter the marketplace with less expense, the availability of high-functioning digital options, more simplified editing software, and the ease of establishing a website, the competition is huge. Becoming a published and successful photographer in the modern age no longer requires just the ability to take amazing shots. It also requires that you be able to market yourself in the right ways to develop contacts that will pass your name along to companies and clients in need of your expertise.

A recent article in the “Notes From a Rep’s Journal” blog by Heather Elder mentions that in 2015, photographers who participate in their own marketing will be the ones who are the most successful.

“Photographers that are committed to their marketing plans, engage in their own networking, have a strong voice on social media, utilize blogs and other websites to promote themselves and are engaged in the estimating process fully are the ones who are the busiest.” ~Heather Elder, photographer rep

Accomplishing this marketing is best done by utilizing all the tools that available.  There are portfolio reviews to attend, e-mail promotions, snail-mail promotions, interviews, website updates, blogs, and networking events to attend. One of our photographers shared that she learned to play golf in order to network . Another states that he pays monthly in order to remain on the first page of Google.

Social media is another marketing option and in this article, we are going to concentrate on its benefits to the professional photographer.

Why Are Social Platforms Excellent for Freelance Photographers?

Basically, social networking is successful because of two things: people’s desire to connect and their desire to be entertained.  Social media allows people to connect with one another, and to share what has entertained them (in the case of their children and pets, perhaps too often, but I digress)

People also are visual. They love images. This makes social networks ideal for sharing your work and building your reputation as a quality photographer.

Before I lose you, let’s address the elephant in the room:  yes, there is a possibility that your images may be lifted. Even when protections are put into place, that possibility exists. There are ways to obtain images from websites even when the right-click is disabled and there are ways to remove watermarks.  But because of the competition, it’s a chance that needs to be taken.  Don’t be careless but don’t be so protective of your work that you cut off your nose to spite your face.  Watermark your images. Most social networks have mechanisms in place that will allow you to report theft. This will result in the offending person’s images being removed in most cases.

You can publish your photos on social networks and quickly develop a following that allows you to prove to potential clients that their target demographic enjoys your work. You may even be able to find a way to become featured on one of the larger community “hubs” that republish awe-inspiring photographs with the proper attribution.

It’s also not just about your work, it’s about you. In 2015, it’s less about the photography than about the photographer. Social media allows you to showcase your personality, your vision, and your talents, as well as your work.

The Social Networks You Should Use as a Freelance Photographer

The best approach to take when establishing your presence on social networks is to take a broad one. You want your name on as many of the social networks that you can handle, as this will allow you to best grow a more generalized audience for your work.  It’s best to try to acquire a standard name across all the social networks so that friends from one platform will recognize you on another.  If you feel that participating on all social networks is just too much, at least try to claim your name and fill out your profiles completely. You never know who will be looking at your work.

“I look at a lot of work online. I have about a thousand bookmarks that I try to randomly browse through when things are quiet at work. I like to keep up with what some of my favorite photographers are shooting, but by choosing bookmarks at random I tend to rediscover people whose work I admire but for whatever reason have not stayed top of mind. It’s good to refresh my mental list of who is working on what out there; there are so many people making great work and I want to work with them all!” ~Genevieve Dellinger, Art Producer at 72 & Sunny

If you find that one or two networks produce better results, then you should focus on driving interaction with the followers you have on those networks without forgetting about the other ones. One of the keys is interaction. Showcase your work but do engage in conversation, as well. Below is a brief list of the social networks you might choose to use as a photographer.

1. Google+

When Google+ first entered the scene, it was one of the most popular social networks among photographers and artists. They said that there images looked better on Google+ (Facebook and Twitter’s images were much smaller at the time) and the gallery was an excellent feature for photographers, as well.

Google+ circles are great for dealing with the “noise” and the communities offer a lot of opportunity for sharing with similar interests.  Hangouts are being used to network with other photographers or clients, to talk about gear to give tips, provide portfolio reviews and community photo critiques and even more.

And remember, Google+ is owned by Google. It is good forsearch engine results.

2. Facebook

Facebook has a substantially larger active user base than Google+. This, coupled with the fact that it’s commonly integrated on other websites gives it an incredible amount of promise for photographers.

To utilize the site itself, you need only to create an account and to begin publishing your photographs. You can make your own business page, but this is only an optimal strategy if you plan to promote your own photographs alongside the work of others. As long as you don’t do too much promotion, you are probably fine with just a personal page.  Remember that a personal page must be your first and last name. It may NOT be the name of your company or even Jane Smith Photographer.

One reason to consider a business page on Facebook is the ability to advertise using Facebook ads. Facebook has become a pay-to-play platform which may sound like a negative, but in reality, it’s not. Facebook advertising allows you to post less content and reach a much more specific group of people.  And if you are growing an e-mail list (something you should consider doing), Facebook advertising has proven to be excellent.

One negative about Facebook is that 90% of users who “like” a page, never return to that page. This is another reason that Facebook ads have become necessary.

One positive is that Facebook is THE largest social platform and because your friends and family are probably already on it, you can take advantage of the 6 degrees of separation in order to make connections. Who better than friends and family to recommend you to their friends and family?

3. Twitter

Twitter is the platform that gives you 140 characters or less to publish your message. It is a phenomenal tool to connect with individuals and companies around the world. But it is a very fast-moving platform and as such you must regularly publish your messages because they disappear quickly.

Twitter users frown on too much promotion so it’s best to use the 80/20 rule: 80 sharing and 20% promotion.  Sharing your images is welcomed though and you are able to post up to 4 images at a time. You also have to option to tag your photos.

Twitter #hashtags allows for easy search results. For instance, type #photographer in the search box and you’ll be led to photographers who use Twitter or tweets with the hashtag #photographer in them.

Will you find many clients on Twitter? Probably not, but you will be able to connect with influential photographers to aspire to, companies who might utilize your photography, industry leaders in your area and because Twitter is usually the first to break news, a possible photo opportunity.

  1. Flickr

    Flickr is an interest network which means that its goal is pretty much just to share images. There’s not much interaction there. On Flickr, you are able to license images for reuse or print sales or you can choose not to allow that option.

    Flickr has come under fire lately when Yahoo! (its owner) started selling canvas images of its photos. They changed that policy but the negative feelings have lingered.

5.. Pinterest

Pinterest is unique from the other social networks listed here due to the fact that it focuses entirely on pinning and repinning images. Images are pinned from websites and placed onto virtual bulletin boards. Boards can be organized into categories of the user’s choice so for instance, images could be grouped into themes such as nature, street scenes, animals, marsala (Pantone’s color of the year), etc.

If you have a website where you share your photographs, sell your photographs or write blog posts, Pinterest might be a great platform to consider.  Images pinned from your website would link back to it and possibly bring visitors back to explore more of your offerings. One of the great things about Pinterest is that because of the “repining factor” the life of a pin is much longer than a tweet or a Facebook post.  A pinned item could be repined even a year after the original pin.

It’s also a great platform if you are a wedding, portrait or events photographer and is excellent for finding some inspiration.

5. Instagram

Instagram is a fun and easy way to share your images. You’ll find many photographers on Instagram and they seem eager to share each other’s work (with credit), so you have a good chance of growing a nice following. Plus Instagram is a great way to share photos of your life, your travels and your personality. Remember in 2015, it’s more about the photographer than they photography.

Instagram will also share easily to Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr and Twitter (although the size will be distorted in Twitter). Instagram cannot share to Google+.

This platform makes use of #hashtags and is the only platform where it’s acceptable to use large amounts of hashtags in a post. Check out the hashtags that other photographers are using.

It is a mobile only app though so in order to share images from your standard camera, you’ll need to upload them to Dropbox or another Cloud storage system and grab them on your mobile device. Another work-around for that (if you don’t have a cloud storage system) is to email them to yourself and then save the image to your mobile device.

Image credit: : DepositPhotos.com

  

The Top 7 Mistakes Direct Marketers Make When Hosting a Facebook Party

For many direct sales marketers (think Scentsy, Origami Owl, Younique, Jamberry, Facebook parties have become an excellent alternative to in-home parties.  Attendees can party without the need to leave their home, pay for a babysitter or even get dressed to go out.  Party in your PJs has become the direct marketers battle cry!

Of course, some marketers have much more success than others and others are left to wonder why.  If you’re not having as great a success at your online parties, perhaps you are making one (or more) of these 7 mistakes. 

1. Making the event public.

Making the event public is just overwhelming for everyone.  Choose to either create a private event and send a limited number of invitations or create or a closed, secret group and add your party guests to the group.  I’m seeing many more direct marketers creating closed secret groups instead of events and having participated in a couple of them, I find them to be more effective.

 If you choose to create a closed secret group, immediately inform the attendees that they have the option to leave the group (and that there will be no hard feelings on the part of the hostess or rep) and how to do it.  Also advise them that they can turn off notifications if they’d rather not be notified of every post.  Provide directions on how to do that, as well.

Brande Belanger of Younique states “I find that the participation in events has been less than ideal for me. I think primarily because invitees need to RSVP. Plus, as new products roll out or if there are some really cool things I’d love to show (off), I can pop back in the group at any time and post an update. And, by setting the groups to Closed or Secret, participants aren’t sharing their FB activities to the world.”

2. Not coaching your hostess.

Your hostess needs to know what is expected of her.  Because she’s not in this business herself, she may not know the ins and outs of Facebook parties or of direct sales marketing itself.  Advise her to give you a list of at least 25-30 people (the more the merrier) and show her how to get them excited during the event. 

Also remember to coach the potential customer, as well. Let them know what to expect as far as length of party, what will be happening during the party, where to go to ask questions, etc.

3.  Following the outline of your home shows.

Of course, Facebook parties are not the same as home parties.  

Jamberry independent consultant, Rebecca Cantu notes that “the main difference I see between a Facebook party and a home party is the amount of time you have to cover all the desired content.

At a home party you focus mainly on the product and getting to know your audience. You have to do this in a short time so live demonstrations, one or two quick games and a drawing is usually all you can fit in.

With a Facebook party, you need to cover the same content, but it is spread out over a longer period of time (if you’re doing a longer event), so you have to build and keep interest. This usually involves a lot more creative ways, like games, to introduce your product as well as get to know your audience.”

4.  Making the event too long.

There seems to be a discrepancy among direct marketing experts on this one.  Some say that the event should be on one night and not last longer than an hour so as not to take up everyone’s time.  Some say that they have better success with an event that lasts up to a week.  Experiment between the two to find out what works best for you.  I can only speak as an attendee but I don’t want to be stuck in front of Facebook for an hour. I’d rather have the information dripped to me at a slower pace.

5. Linking to your online site too soon.

If you’re holding an event with a specific start and stop time, don’t link to your website too soon, ESPECIALLY if you sell a lot of different product.  Your potential purchaser might leave the party, begin clicking and never return.  And then she may forget why she went there in the first place! It’s best to link to your website at the very end of your event. 

6. Not using images.

Images convert at a much higher rate than plain text.  Try to use an image each and every time you post.  PicMonkey and Canva are great sites to use to create images.  Apps such as WordSwag, PicCollage and Rhonna Designs are also fantastic.  If you’re not good at image creation, Fiverr is a good place to find someone who is.

Do be careful that you are using your images legally.  If not, you could be sued.  (Attribution does not necessarily mean legal.) Check out this article for more information.

7.  Being too salesy

We’ve all seen the over-zealous and apparently ill-informed direct sales marketers who post a photo of an item and say something like “check out this fabulous necklace combo. It’s one of our best sellers! Book your party now and it could be yours!”.   No one wants to hear that.

A better option: “Check out this fabulous necklace combo.  I’m sporting this at the opening day Angels game.”  And that’s it!  Nothing else need be said.

Bonus: Bugging your potential customers using the private message feature.

When hosting an event, you have the ability to reach out to your attendees with a private message. Use this feature for important “requested” information. DO NOT PRIVATE MESSAGE YOUR POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS AND ASK THEM TO CHOOSE NUMBERS FOR THE BINGO GAME OR ASKING IF THEY’RE GOING TO PLACE AN ORDER!    JUST DON’T.

Do let me know if these tips have helped at all.  And if you have further questions about how to set up Facebook events or Facebook groups, feel free to ask.

Photo credit: DepositPhotos/vadimphoto1