Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start writing!
Instagram Story Highlights is a new feature that allows users to share their best Instagram Stories for much longer (indefinitely) than the usual 24-hour cycle. You have many ways to use Instagram stories highlights.
However, an interesting thing to arise in the business community since the launch of this feature is the way that people are using it as an additional way to promote their product and service offerings despite the lack of multiple clickable links in their Instagram bio description.
Read on to learn three creative ways you can use Instagram Stories Highlights for your business.
In January 2016, I launched my first ever business ‘ Social Stylings’.
A few months of Instagram bliss later, they announced that they were going to introduce an algorithmic feed instead of the traditional chronological feed.
That is when everything started to change.
With that first Instagram account for my first business, I experimented over months to discover what worked, what didn’t, and how to best promote my Social Media business on Instagram.
Now with Social Stylings sitting at just over 7,500 followers, with a consistent stream of clients and e-book sales, I decided that it was time for me to launch my second business.
What I didn’t really prepare myself for was how much quicker and easier it would be to grow my second business’ Instagram account.
Currently, Marketer Mansion is sitting at 800 followers, and the account launched on 24th January. Talk about fast growth!
In this article, I want to share with you the things I did differently the second time around that I can attribute to this fast Instagram follower growth.
Because despite this ‘evil algorithm’ that everyone complains about, it actually was relatively easy to grow this Instagram account.
You just have to follow a few simple steps.
Almost like an ‘Instagram Follow Growth Recipe’.
Instagram Follower Growth Recipe (For New Accounts)
30 minutes of Instagram Engagement Strategies per day. For example: liking and commenting on other people’s content in the Hashtags my ideal customers use. Responding to people’s stories.
Posting more than usual – 2x a day on most days, and sticking with a clear image theme so that my feed is visually attractive.
Updating my Hashtags for a few posts with Hashtags from my Instagram Hashtag (Fashion) Cheat Sheet
Making sure to keep my Following ratio underneath my total follower amount, so not following everyone I see.
Things that Made it Easier for Me to Grow My Account:
I haven’t changed to a business profile yet.
I have @social.stylings, so I do have a few people trickling over from there. Sometimes I will mention Marketer Mansion in a caption or Instagram Story.
I have an email list I can promote my new account to.
I put up follow threads in my free Facebook group Instagram Unfiltered.
Think about how you can incorporate these strategies into your own Instagram Marketing to boost your results.
Working from home is NOT glamours like you see in the movies…
Most think that working from home is a luxury. You get to wake up when you want, work in your PJ’s, no commute, no traffic, no money spent on gas, lunch money saved, and you get naptime as if you were in preschool. Those things I have learned easily become your curse instead of your blessing.
I am a mother of 2 and I work my business from home. My 6-month-old son stays home with me full time so I have to work and be a mom to him at the same damn time. I get so many messages on how I balance my two lives and make it look easy. I came up with four simple tips that help me stay productive since I am working from home.
1. Get dressed as if you have a 9-5
Working in your PJ’s the first week you work from home is life but after that high is over, you develop a pattern of always working in your PJ’s. You become unproductive and lazy because you have not fully prepared yourself. It is so true that when you look good, you feel good which makes you perform better. Stop working in your PJ’s and get dressed all up like you have a job to go too because you do. It just so happens to be your own business that you work from home.
I comb my hair, I beat this face, I wear cute clothes, and I get all dolled up to go to work. You don’t work from home, you work from the office that just so happens to be in your home. Change your mindset.
I wake up 30 minutes earlier than my children so I can get myself ready. At 8:30 am when I drop my 5-year-old off at kindergarten, I am cute in my office with my laptop and coffee ready to start my job at 9:00 am.
2. Create a top 3 to-do list
Life happens but life really happens when you work from home with children. I can’t control if my 6-month-old wants to be a whiny brat all day and all he wants to do is be held and cuddle. So, I come up with my top 3 things that I MUST get done that day. I have my day planned by the hour but my main priority is completing my top 3 task so just in case my 6 months old decides that he wants to be king of the day, I am covered. When my 5-year-old and/or husband comes home or when my son goes to sleep I can start to work on the other things on my list that I didn’t get to tackle earlier.
I also wake up in the middle of the night and many times I can’t go back to sleep so I will work on my top 3 things to get ahead in my day. So make your list before you go to bed.
3. Work in an uncomfortable setting
Don’t work from your bed, the coach, in front of the TV, or any other place in your house where you can get comfy because you will get tired and see a good place to take a nap in your house and sleep will be your business for that day. Don’t set yourself up for failure because it will work and you will be mad when you wake up. Work from your desk or at your kitchen table. If you were at a job, you would be working at a desk not your bed to act as if you are at a job
4. Buy cute stuff
Cute notebooks and pens motivate me to be productive. Get you some cute stuff that you like for your workspace to make it your own. If you were at a job, you would decorate your cubicle with pictures of your family. You also use your pink pens/pencils, glitter notebooks, and inspirational quotes so do the same thing for your home workspace. You need that décor to keep you motivated.
I had an office space in downtown Chicago on the 21st floor. So, working from my office and working from home was a major adjustment. Having a new baby though and wanted to stay home with him and take my daughter to and from school. The fact that I am saving the $1,200 a month bill that I was spending on rent. I save money that I won’t have to spend on daycare for my son and afterschool care for my daughter is a definite win. Working for the home requires discipline if you plan to produce as if you weren’t at home. I run my home-based business as the cooperation that I am. Working from home has major perks but you don’t want to turn perks into an everyday ritual. If you need a 15-minute power nap, take one but don’t turn that into a 3-hour sleeping session.
We need to stop using this excuse.
As an Instagram Marketing Specialist working with clients 1:1, hosting corporate workshops and public workshops as well as a free Facebook group dedicated to Instagram, the most common excuse I hear is…
“Ugh. The Instagram algorithm changed and XYZ on my account isn’t working. Grr”
The truth is, we all need to stop blaming airy fairy rumours backed with 0 evidence.
Because of most of the time? It’s our own fault that our Instagram results have dropped.
Yes, I just wrote that.
There’s something about human nature – we tend to overlook our shortcomings when we get busy and when we are relaxed, we start dropping the balls we are juggling in the air. That is when things start to change.
When it comes to Instagram, one thing I wish for in 2018 is for us all to stop blaming the algorithm for everything.
Instagram doesn’t hate you.
Instagram doesn’t want your business to fail.
Also, Instagram wants you to succeed, but you need to get to know the platform better.
You need to work on your relationship – get to know it, respect it, and work on your relationship with Instagram frequently to keep things fresh and fun.
According to Buffer, there are seven key factors that will affect your account and content within the algorithm.
- Engagement: How popular the post is
- Relevancy: The genres of content you are interested in and have interacted with
- Relationships: The accounts you regularly interact with
- Timeliness: How recent the posts are
- Profile Searches: The accounts you check out often
- Direct Shares: Whose posts you are sharing
- Time Spent: The duration spent viewing a post
There are also certain behaviours that will cause Instagram to throw a little toddler tantrum with you – it’ll be mad at you, but it won’t tell you why.
Those behaviours are usually the reasons why people start struggling with Instagram, particularly in 2018.
At the moment I am working on formulating a complete checklist for business owners to go through when they are struggling on Instagram, but here are a few things to keep in mind.
These suggestions are based on my own findings from managing accounts, various research, working with clients, and group findings in my free Facebook group on what works and what doesn’t.
- Change your Hashtags regularly – if it has been over three weeks, change them!
- Be careful not to like, comment, or follow/unfollow too quickly. IG will think you’re a robot.
- Don’t join comment pods or ‘engagement groups’ hosted within Instagram DM’s.
- Don’t over-post (3+ daily) or under-post (less than 2 posts a week).
If you want the cheat sheet when it becomes available, make sure to be a part of my Facebook group to be notified.
I hope you found this article helpful, and the next time you think to blame the algorithm, I hope that you will check your behaviours first.
As lonely and overwhelming as the entrepreneurial journey is, reading provides the solace of knowing you are not alone. You may not have someone in your immediate environment who understands your grind, but through books, articles, and blogs, you will realize that those feelings of doubt and fear are also experienced by others. By reading the success stories and journey of others, it fuels you to stay the course. And more importantly, best books for entrepreneurs provide you the priceless access to thousands and thousands of mentors.
While there are hundreds of books I think every entrepreneur should read, I do have my top 5 that I would recommend to anyone. These are the books I find myself referring to over and over again. Through these books, I think an early stage entrepreneur will be fortified to tackle both the mental and technical challenges of running their ventures.
The Success Principles by Jack Canfield
2. The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
4. The Purple Cow by Seth Godin
5. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
I know you’re bombarded every other day with multiple income streams being the way to go, the key to wealth, the new thing for 2018 and so forth.
Creating multiple income streams is definitely a path to success – especially passive income. However, before you even begin to think of growing your revenue, you MUST have already created these three things, otherwise, you can kiss those multiple streams bye, bye:
1. Secure primary income
How are you going to master earning multiple anything, if you can’t even consistently earn one income stream (rhetorical question)? Whether you start out selling one service or one type product, earning one primary income is crucial for several reasons:
- it will build your confidence as a business owner
- allow you to learn the ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ of what it takes to consistently create one income source
- with valuable feedback from your customers, you can edit your offering specifically to what they want
2. Build community
Launching a product or service successfully is all about creating a hype and buzz. And, the major one is creating customers before you even have your offering ready. I launched Womeneur in April 2015. But, in February 2015, I got online and began building my ‘tribe’, communicating via email and writing a blog. These three things allowed to me continue the conversation away from social media, building trust, loyalty, credibility. Essentially, I was providing value and sharing my knowledge and also showing I cared by creating a two-way conversation. I was able to build an organic, global and engaging Instagram community by providing value.
Additionally, I was able to carve a ‘niche’ in the market and place Womeneur brand in the minds of customers as the go-source for emerging and early-stage female entrepreneurs. This requires consistency, providing value and showing you care.
So I spent 9 months building a community and didn’t sell my consulting services or limited merchandise (mugs, posters, etc) until November. By then I had gained the trust and loyalty and people were ready to spend their hard-earned money with my brand.
3. Create what they want
Trust me, I understand: you have a brilliant idea for a product or service that you believe is totally irresistible and will be a cash cow for your business.
However, it will be unwise of you to create offerings without even asking your target audience what they want. Dell Computers mastered this philosophy by getting their customers involved in their decision-making process… matter of fact, they began making customer laptops because of this.
You MUST ask your customers what they want. If you have one primary offering, know that in order to add more on top of those (because your goal is to offer as many offerings as you can within the scope of your business), you need feedback. You need to know what’s working, what’s not working, what they like or dislike, what would they like different or like to see more of.
You can get feedback numerous ways:
- Ask questions on social media. It is true that my questions on Womeneur Instagram seem like fun and games (and they are to some extent). However, I’m taking your responses and finely tuning your customer persona.
- create surveys in Google Docs, Survey Monkey or Typeform and include questions above to your current customers and even potential customers
- ask for testimonials
- Include questions in the purchase process. How did you find out about us, what made you buy this product/service, where have you purchased similar items before?
When I began selling merchandise, I began showing mugs, notebooks, etc and asked which ones you liked most. Before I offered my consultation services, I sent out a survey asking you what you struggled with and what price range were you willing to pay… and I did the same thing before creating the WomeneurCollective.
Last week inside the WomeneurCollective, I hosted a virtual classroom: Creating Multiple Streams of Income for Your Small Business. I shared the many options available for creating multiple income streams for your business. Also, I shared tips and strategies and tips to implement them successfully.
Are you working on creating multiple streams of income and do you have the above 3 criteria in place?
I had several conversations about two weeks ago where people either touched upon or directly asked me ‘how I do it’?. When I asked them what they meant they wanted to know how I’m able to sustain Womeneur successfully and consistently after nearly three years (Womeneur launched April 2015). And for the ones that know me pre-Womeneur, they’ve continuously seen me succeed at all my entrepreneur ventures. Below pretty much sums up why I am able to stay on top of my game.
- I talk the talk and walk the walk – You know that saying ‘if it walks and talks like a duck, then it’s a duck’? Well, the same applies to me. I don’t just talk to talk. I can back it up and I do. This is how I gain people’s trust, because I follow through.
- I’m not a social media star, I have social proof – I am by no means knocking the digital space. The magnitude of awareness and connections it has driven. But…. if social media shut down, I will still be successful and don’t solely rely on social media for attention or clients. I have a track record – social proof – before the explosion of social media. In other words… you can google me and find info about me as far back as 2008.
- I’m consistent – this is one the biggest factors to play a part of whether or not you will succeed. I show up every time and I don’t overwhelm or bite off more than I can chew. Also, I am realistic with my time frame and do what I can realistically do in the time frame available (after taking care of my personal needs, socializing, etc)
- I work my entire ass off – My work ethic is unmatched. I sacrifice and prioritize now for future benefits. Also, I do what it takes to get sh*t done.
- I remain humble – I come from humble beginnings and I NEVER forget where I came from. I’ll never be that individual who will be inaccessible or think I’m too good for the same people I used to once be. I’m not better than anyone… definitely may have more knowledge and experience than others, but I’m that person who treats the janitor and CEO the same.
- I don’t kiss ass – nope, never have and never will. I shouldn’t either. There were many days I wanted a contract or client or sale, but I always kept my standards. No one is that great that I should have to beg or sell my soul.
- I create my own – to piggy-back off #6 – I am a firm believer of creating my own events, workshops, memberships, etc. this allows me to grow and then create additional partnerships and collaborations. Additionally, it allows me to kinda control my destiny – as well as additional streams of income
- I’m authentic and walk in my truth & power – took me a while to get this space. Yes, I’ve dealt with low self-esteem, lack of confidence and I allowed the behavior and thoughts of random, irrelevant people to write my narrative. I eventually reached a space where I decided I’m going to live for me. This has attracted the right people in my corner, amazing opportunities and it builds trust and loyalty
- I leverage my contacts – I’ve been in business since 2006 and it has afforded me the opportunity to meet 100s of people. I foster a ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch your back’ type of exchange. One where we’re both not connecting with each other just to ask for favors. I met a woman years ago when I launched my first business in 2006. We both saw each other grow and prosper and she opened a winery. My point? She ‘came through’ for me to serve her wines at both my Womeneur launch in 2015 and last April at WomeneurCon 2017. This is without barely speaking for years (but in between the years, we consistently ‘put each other on’), but we both know the value we bring each other… not to mention the respect is there. Please take your time to foster and develop relationships with people you share synergy with.
- I don’t shit on anyone – As I mentioned earlier, I treat the janitor the same as the CEO. Everyone gets treated with respect, even if something doesn’t work out in my favor. I keep it professional and move on
- I uplift, inspire and empower people to win – I’m an avid supporter of women’s empowerment and I’m not afraid to put people in a winning position. Giving and sharing has come back to me ten-fold in ways many people can only imagine.
- I positively affirm my mind daily – Another large factor to success is to block out the bullsh*t, the naysayers, staying positive and persevering even when all the odds are stacked against you. And, I keep have an affirmation manifesto as my laptop and cell phone screensaver, not to mention I read daily and it always includes self-development books
- I make money with my strengths – You know I’ve learned how to best package my knowledge to solve peoples’ problems and move them further to their goals
- I delegate my weaknesses – As a startup entrepreneur, you will be forced to wear many hats. But the goal when you’re financially able is to delegate the areas of your work you don’t prosper in. Consistently trying to do everything may be the downfall of your business
- I work on my business vs working in it – to piggyback off #14. I read Michael Gerber’s book – The E-Myth Revisited. This book has pretty much enlightened me about the mistakes of consistently working ‘in’ your business (day-to-day grind) versus ‘on’ your business (growing, scaling, partnering, etc). At some point, you have to step out from the trenches of your business
- I say what I mean and mean what I say – When you first start your business – and even while you’re growing it – until anyone knows who you are, you need to establish trust and credibility. Until people do consistently see you in action, they will only have your word to rely on. I have become known to be credible and trust-worthy because I don’t just flap my lips. I’m intentional with what I say.
- I have a winning mindset – I’ve taken time to develop my confidence and truly believe I can do whatever I set out to. Moreover, I envision it and believe it and do whatever it takes days to move me closer to winning.
- I read daily – I’m a fairly avid reader – maybe not as much now as I’d like, but to overcome that I made it part of my daily, morning routine. It’s essential to educate your mind – especially about topics in your industry. Reading affords you the opportunity to ‘keep the conversation going’ and to also apply what I know to continue increasing my strengths and turn that into profit
- I don’t compare myself to others – I used to this a lot, but no more. I finally realized that everyone’s chapter and story is different. It’s self-deprecating behavior and serves you no purpose.
What are secrets to your success?
Traveling has become a major part of my business. I am in and out of a different city every single month and you know when you are on a “mini-vacation” you always spend money freely. I have a lot of speaking engagements and I found myself going out of town to get money, only to go home broke. It wasn’t making sense to me until I realized what was happening. I have 3 things that I do now to save on business expenses so that I can go home with the money I just made.
1. Take one credit card
I am a shopper and I like knickknacks but those $3 items always add up. To avoid the just “buying because you got it” syndrome that I suffer from, I only bring one credit card and not my debit card. I just got my credit in order, so I am very conscious about what I put on my credit card. Me buying anything other than the bare minimum with my credit card is something I will not do. This tactic forces me to only buy what I need.
2. Don’t book a hotel
Usually, the speaking engagement is only one day so I book the first flight into the city and the last flight out. If they have a Q and A after or even go to dinner to celebrate, I am covered because the last flight isn’t until about 11:00 pm. Hotel stays get expensive and staying overnight forces you to eat, drink, and shop, well that was the case for me. To avoid all of that, I get off the plane and Uber to the location and I Uber back to the airport. I have saved so much money traveling this way. Am I tired? Yep, but I have all my money and I can sleep in the airport and on the plane. I find myself sometimes sitting in the airport for hours until the last plane leaves. I am completely ok with that because I have enough work to do to make my airport stay productive.
3. Pizza Anyone?
When I have to stay at night in other cities, I order a large pizza from the local pizza place. I only eat cheese pizza so it pretty much tastes good from wherever you order it. It is only me but a large pizza I can eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Order a 2-liter pop, a pizza, and some chips and that is $20 well spent. I am not eating and drinking up all my money.
It is clear to me that money comes and goes. But you need to be smart about what it goes too. I used to go out of town and make $1,500 and come back home with $30 wondering where did all my money go? Since I have added these 3 steps in my spending, it has really helped me out so much. Try them and let me know if it works for you.
I’d love to hear about how you save on your business travels?
I can honestly say that the backbone of my business has been Networking. The old fashion type. Breakfast meetings, lots of lunches, receptions and community events. Attending these events shaped my social understanding within the framework of business. It really groomed me from an introverted and awkward entrepreneur into a confident and social business person.
The act of meeting complete strangers from totally different backgrounds has a way of jolting you quickly to prep mode. Thus, I value networking and the role it plays in both personal development and business growth.
Why is Networking Important?
Networking is an important aspect of business development because “no man is an island.” No matter how knowledgeable you are in your field as you navigate in the world of business others will be needed. Whether it’s to bounce ideas, offer recommendations or mentor.
Many jobs and opportunities aren’t posted. In today’s ever-expanding market, we at times don’t know we need a service, a consultant, or a product until we see it or meet the person offering it. Thus, networking provides a great opportunity to get in front of people and get noticed. Networking helps in the following areas:
- Meet new people that can provide you client/customer referrals
- Vendor and other business recommendations
- Build Relationships with people you can support and who can offer you support in return
- Provides opportunities and new markets
- Create Collaborations & Partnerships
- Navigating red tape and other logistical roadblocks
But in an age where people are spending more time behind their computers than they are spending at after work events or networking events, how does one craft these meaningful relationships in the days of social media? A time when many think liking someone’s post fits under the umbrella of connecting. Or the sharing of a business flyer is sufficient to stay top of mind in someone’s memory? How do you network effectively in these modern times of social media and technology? How does someone like me who’s more familiar with the traditional forms of in-person interactions, make the best of social media in the networking sphere? Below are four tips to help you make the best of your online networking utilizing various social media platforms.
LinkedIn is Your Friend
LinkedIn is not the most popular social media networking platform, but if you are a business, professional, entrepreneur or industry expert of any kind (technology, art, writing, marketing, etc) You need to be on the site.
Linked in offers you the ability to promote yourself as a professional, get hired, and is a great way to get noticed. It offers you the ability to position yourself as an industry expert in your area.
The fact that LinkedIn is a professional network, it makes it easier to connect with other professionals, as everyone has a business mindset. Sending someone a message regarding connecting, won’t seem creepy.
LinkedIn also provides the affinity groups, which really allows you to connect with like-minded industry leaders and stay on top of your industry.
Facebook Groups and Fan Pages
Facebook is still the most popular social media networking platform. Use it. Facebook started off as the platform to keep in touch with family and friends. As you develop your business and entrepreneurial endeavors, it’s important to step out of that. Beyond your personal profile consider creating a business and/or fan page. This will provide you access to people that either already use your services or potential clients/customers.
If they are on your page that means there is something that you provide that interest them. Take advantage of this opportunity to not simply promote your products, but to position yourself as the leader and expert in your field. Both on your page and other group pages, answer questions. Offer tips and advice. The best way to sell these days is to offer information. It allows people see your knowledge and puts them at ease for when they are ready to spend money with you, they can be confident in your ability.
Go Ahead Retweet
Retweeting is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get noticed on Twitter. However, you don’t want to simply retweet. A tweet with your comment attached to what you appreciated or a special shout out, will always get noticed. “Loved XYZ’s nouveau age perspective on global warming” followed by the retweet, shows you were paying attention and you are a fan. The person is more likely to notice and respond.
Interact on Instagram
With all social media platforms, the key is interaction. Simply posting your own content won’t cut it if you want to develop a valuable network. Instagram can prove to be a very self-centered platform if you are not careful. But there are tons of opportunities for interaction. Answer people’s comments under your pictures. Visit other pages, especially for people who offer similar products or services. See what comments people are making under their posts. Do their fans have questions? If you can provide answers in a non-“I’m here to get the following sort of way”, you will get some new fans and meet some new people. People pay attention to people who have answers. Offer your answers.
Instagram stories also provide another great way to network. Do you want to collaborate with someone on a shoot, project, event? answer one of their IG stories. It goes right into their inbox!
Understand that the same rules apply to social media as they do in the non-cyber space. In order to build deep meaningful professional relationships, you have to engage and offer support. Once you can command the respect as an authority in your field on social media, while offering valuable information and insight to both your fans and potential business partners, you will be the sought after person to collaborate and connect with.