“The Nation’s 3.3 million Hispanic-owned small businesses generate $474 billion in annual sales – and growing.” – Jovita Caranzas, Administrator U.S. SBA, Jovita Carranza serves as the 26th Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
When you are designing or redesigning your website, Graphics and Images are KEY! Most people are visual thinkers, and photography is one of the key pieces to consider for your brand, website or blog.
Here is a list of all of the royalty-free stock photography that you can use. If you know of one that isn’t listed here, or if one of the links here no longer works, please let me know via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inexpensive Stock Photos
Free Stock Photos
How To Start Reaching Your Audience With Instagram
Instagram. Welcome to the 2019 version of social digital photos. By now you have either connected to your family and friends on this platform or are waiting to see if it’s absolutely necessary to add another social media platform to your device. If you are trying to navigate the digital world of photos and descriptions while trying to figure out and use this beauty of a tool to educate, entertain and empower your followers. I have good news you are not alone.
According to Oberlo.com, there are 1 billion monthly active Instagram users. You heard that right. ONE BILLION users actively using IG every month. Instagram is the most engaged network after Facebook. 71% of the billion monthly active users on the Instagram app are under the age of 35. This means, 29% are over the age of 35 and that percentage IS in fact growing. Instagram has an eager user base in Latin America among female users (source)
IG approximately 80% of all Instagram users follow a business on Instagram. You heard that right…out of 1 billion monthly users, 80% of them follow their favorite businesses. Wow. So if that’s not enough motivation to get you excited to become the next Instagram influencer then I don’t know what else I can say besides, let’s go!
Okay, now that I have your attention, and before you run out and flood your profile page with photos of your adorable pup and selfies of you and the hunky husband of yours. Let’s take a look at this platform very strategically and methodically! After all, you are an entrepreneur and business-minded lady. So, we shall approach all things Instagram with the same finesse that you create your services and products for your clients. Keep in mind the mission of Instagram is for you to connect with your audience. I like to think of it as a Party! You don’t immediately invite them over to your home, but you are there to mingle and connect and share something that you value.
Instagram Posting Strategy
Here are some Instagram Posting Strategies that can help make the most of your Instagram experience from the start and use it as a tool to grow your audience and engage with your prospects and clients.
Your BRAND Story
They say a picture is worth one thousand words and on Instagram, it is quite accurate. With each photo, think about the story you are piecing together for your Followers. Whether that means you are showing pictures of your family, your friendships, what you do on the weekend; be sure to include pictures of your work, your end products, shout outs to your loyal customers, your client testimonials, etc. Share what it is you are doing and letting your audience see a behind-the-scenes look at the story of your brand. Your story should align perfectly with your business goal. (You are an at-home baker who is ready to open her brick and mortar cake shop, show your followers your journey)
People are attracted to personal stories. So be sure to give your followers a glimpse of your business and personal life so you can build their trust and they can get to know you.
Brand Your Profile Look and Feel.
The color temperatures and lighting of your photo should be cohesive and consistent. I’m the first one to admit that before I turned my private Instagram into my public business one all my photos were just random with different colors, lighting, and filters. Play around with this on your own until you find what feels good with your brand. There are different lighting effects and filters you can use as well as other apps that will give you the look and feel you want. Using Instagram’s Hyperlapse, Layout, and Boomerang can give you a fun and creative way to craft your photos.
Schedule your posts.
I can’t say this enough. FEED the Instagram beast. The algorithm is currently created to give the people who post consistently most preference. Make a promise to yourself to be consistent and methodical about posting. I recommend no less than 1x per day, at the minimum 3x per week.
Best Time to post on Instagram.
As of September 2019, if you want to get the most engagement, Post to Instagram between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM EST from Tuesday to Friday. You’ll get the most consistent engagement that way.
Caption or No Caption.
It’s more than just a pretty picture or graphic. Please use captions. In fact, you can describe the feeling or motivation for sharing that photo. Giving people a reason to connect and learn something. Be inspired or even be able to laugh and feel connected to you and your brand. I’ve advised my clients to always be methodical about what they want to say about the photo they are using. You can think of your Instagram as a microblog. Here you can talk about your product, or service, what Inspired you, why you are sharing the photo.
Use your natural voice, write like you are writing to or speaking to your best client.
There’s alot of debate on this topic. And there are justifiable views on all sides of the matter. Ultimately what I have noticed is that hte more hashtags that people use that are not relevant to the content the more that content will be demoted. I’m not alone in this, as Hubspot’s findings note that
- The most influential and engaged Instagram users get a substantial number of likes on their content organically vs. the use of hashtags
Ɖ These highly engaged posts impact our averages
- Good content will receive high engagement even without hastags.
Ɖ Hashtags will not boost the engagement of mediocre content
- People are using irrelevant hashtags, (I have seen someone use the fitness related hashtag on a photo of a donut? Okay? Maybe?)
- So much spammy content includes a alot of hashtags, causing Instagram users to ignore them.
The verdict is stick with 5 or less hashtags that are focused and relavant to your post / content.
Using a tool like Planoly can help you work in batches, pre-plan, schedule, and write out your descriptions for your photos ahead of time.
Once you’ve crafted your description or caption be sure to include a CTA (call to action) for your readers to encourage them to do something or answer your questions to them, however, withhold from the using the words like “tag a friend”
Respond to your comments
Take the time to reply or respond to each comment. If you have less than 5000 followers this should be standard practice. Taking 15-20 minutes of your time may seem like a lot of work but think of the people who took the time to write you a response and comment. There is something to be said about responding to DMs (direct messages). Take note of all the questions and responses you get. If you aren’t the finger to keyboard writing type…you are in luck because Instagram allows you to send back a reply via either a voice recording or a video direct message. How wonderful is that?! You can show your followers how much support and care for them.
Post your own content and feel free to tag other brands or people but reposting content from other profiles is something that Instagram’s algorithm will be demoted.
Reach More Customers Using Stories & IGTV
People want to learn, laugh and live their best life. In fact, “People come to Instagram to be inspired and discover things they care about.” – Instagram
By using the 3 E’s Educate, Entertain and Empower you can help your audience and customers. Interestingly only 1-2% of your followers will get to see your content at all. This is why being consistent and clear about your brand, who you help and why you do it is crucial. IG’s Explore page is the main area of curated content that Instagram deems noteworth, trending or viral. It appears that Instagram’s algorithm is promoting more video content in this area.
Go LIVE and connect your followers and friends in real-time to your brand story. Make sure you have sufficient WiFi and battery life on your device. Hold your phone upright. Swipe right from the feed to open your Stories Camera. Tap Live, then Start Video. You can be live for up to one hour.
You’ll see new people join your live story; the longer you stay live, the more time your followers have to join you. While you’re live, you have the ability to pin a comment. When you’re finished, tap “End Live Video.” Your broadcast will stop and automatically disappear.
You and your followers will be unable to rewatch it, but it’s saved to your camera roll so you can repurpose that content.
Wash. Rinse and Repeat.
It may seem like you are the star of the movie Groundhog Day but believe me, building awareness around your brand, your business goals and who it is you are here to serve gives your audience the understanding of who you are and what it is you do. The next time they need a home organizer (or fill in the blank) they will know exactly who they need to reach out to. Because you will have brought that awareness to them in your photos, stories, micro blog. They will have felt a connection to your brand and to you and when they finally need to hire a home organizer, guess who they will be DMing for a consultation.
Be sure you are providing value and teaching your followers about you and your craft. Whether that means sharing a tip they can use, showing them your personality, or helping them figure something out. The main thing is to offer value, fun and connection with your audience.
Wondering what a domain is and how to register one? This quick overview explains what a domain is and why selecting one that is relevant is good and important for your brand and business. most new entrepreneurs can choose use their name or product name (if available). Then select hosting your hosting provided to serve your content and pages.
Take a look at this quick tutorial for Domain Registration.
The rise of social media over the last decade has given many entrepreneurs and small businesses an understanding and sense that they, in fact, don’t quite need to have their own website. And nothing could be further from the truth. Let’s recall the comedians who had a following of over 800k and were able to monetize their brand and comedy via Vine. From one day to the next Vine literally unplugged their service and just like that the Vine comedians lost their loyal following, their content (1-minute videos), and their income stream. Gone….poof. There is a gymnast who had over 1000 videos on YouTube, without any warning, his content has been taken down and over 90% of his content had been demonetized.
As a web designer and digital marketer, when I hear a business owner tell me that they have an active Facebook page with over 5,000 followers I congratulation them but also ask them if their followers are all subscribed to their email list and are they actually visiting their website. Social media platforms have the right to your content and they also have the right to modify the algorithm as they see fit for “their” business, not yours.
There is a solution: build YOUR own website! Your website is the digital foundation for your business. Your domain, your content, your mailing list. Facebook, albeit unlikely, could vanish tomorrow and how could you continue serving your customers, fans, loyal audience?
Look at it in this lens, Social Media is where you meet them at the party but your website is where you invite and host them in your own home to your private offerings and where you will ultimately want them to convert into your customer.
When you have your own website you can create a membership website, take payments or donations, sell digital or physical products and services. You can make exclusive offers for those on your email list as many times as you’d like.
WordPress is by far the best platform to create a flexible and customizable robust website. Ultimately your WordPress website gives you the MOST control. Squarespace and Wix are ultimately not your websites, you are renting or leasing space in their platform. You’re content again isn’t quite yours. What this means that if they decided tomorrow they reserve the right to take it from you. Even if you were to change your hosting company, with WordPress, it’s YOURS. You own it and can take it with you when you move to another hosting provider.
The hosting companies that I have recommended to clients are Siteground and WP Engine. Either of these, offer WordPress out of the box so it is fairly simple for you to install WordPress with the click of a button, literally. Once you’ve installed your WordPress you are ready to start designing your website! If you are a Do It Yourself-er and don’t know where or how to start I recommend spending some time learning about Web Strategy, Design, and User Experience. Or you can fill out a project inquiry form so you can learn about my process using the Growth-Driven Design method to build a custom website.
If you would like to try to build your own website pages and forms, there are many ways to go about this. You can use the text or visual editor within WordPress, or you can use the Divi Theme and Divi Page builder to build your own custom website using drag and drop rows and modules. You can also download just about any plugin for the function you are looking to add to your website, which is why what makes WordPress so expandable and customizable to suit your business goals and needs.
The big and GOOD news today is that Instagram has just released FOCUS Feature which lets you BLUR out the background for portrait mode on your images and videos as well! If you want to see this in action head over to my Instagram @ohprosocial and check out my latest story.
Also hot off the Instagram press is @mention sticker is now available for iOS – which makes it even easier to connect with friends in your stories. After you’ve taken a photo or video in your stories camera, open the stickers tray, tap the @mention sticker, start typing the name of the account you want to mention and select from the options that appear. You can then rotate, scale and place your sticker wherever you’d like.
Focus is now available on iPhone SE, 6S, 6S+, 7, 7+, 8, 8+ and X and select Android devices.
This update is available as part of Instagram version 39.0 for iOS in the Apple App Store and for Android in Google Play.
There are times when creating a story on this social media platform is less than desirable because perhaps you haven’t tidied up or are in a location where you’d like to keep undisclosed, whatever your reason, now you can create your story worry free. Are you excited to start using this feature for your brand stories? If you’re like me and you’ve held off on using Stories, perhaps because your locations wasn’t always prime. Well the good news is now you can start using FOCUS feature, it’s next to Boomerang
The ad format digitizes brands’ print product catalogs with auto-play video and links to their e-commerce sites.
Instagram is looking towards becoming a digital showroom for retailers. The Facebook-owned photo-and-video app has started to test a version of Facebook’s shoppable Collection ads within its main feed.
Instagram Users can now tap on the products to visit the brand’s site and buy them directly. The ad format seeks to digitize traditional product catalogs by enabling a brand to highlight its products with an eye-catching video above a swipeable carousel that showcases specific products.
For now, Instagram is only trying out the format with a limited number of advertisers, but the company plans to roll this functionality to more advertisers in a few months, according to an Instagram spokesperson. Instagram has made some changes to Facebook’s original version of the Collection format, since it was introduced in March 2017.
The product carousel appearing below the ad’s main element can only contain three product photos on Instagram, as opposed to four photos on Facebook.
Currently on Facebook, when tapping on an individual product it opens a product catalog that prioritizes that specific product, however on Instagram, tapping on any of the product photos will open the same catalog. From that catalog, people will then be able to click on a product to see it on the brand’s site.
It’s quite clear that E-commerce is becoming a big opportunity on Instagram, and a competitive category in its rivalry with Snapchat. Both platforms offer features to brands that link to purchases outside the apps, and both are slowly bringing the power to buy the apps themselves.
Instagram is becoming an important driver for the future of Facebook’s business. Last week, Facebook’s earnings report showed that the number of people on the social network had declined in North America for the first time and that people were even spending less time on the platform. Executives like Sheryl Sandberg focused on the potential for Instagram.
Facebook has more than 5 million advertisers, while Instagram has around than 2 million. There are 70 million businesses on Facebook and 25 million on Instagram.
Facebook wants to give more advertisers the ability to easily extend campaigns from one platform to the next, and drive more of the advertisers to all its properties.
“Instagram is a business’s visual shop on mobile, and we’re seeing more people seek out businesses there,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, during the earnings call with analysts. “About two-thirds of the visits to Instagram business profiles are from people who don’t yet follow them. This is how many businesses are finding new customers.”
Here at Oh Pro Social, we are busy working on new and custom strategies on both Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat for our clients based on their industry and audience. If your business has a print product catalog we can help you attract customers on social media. We work to stay on top of the latest changes on all social platforms and plan to welcome the volatile landscape of digital marketing. Contact us today so we can help your business meets its goals.