All posts by Sheila Heffernan

Prepping your Instagram posts to maximize local reach

Instagram for Local Reach Marblehead MA

Prepping your Instagram posts to maximize local reach

When deciding upon which social media networks to use for their local business, many small business owners ultimately include Instagram.  And for good reasons.  With over 600 million users, Instagram business pages that post quality content often see a high rate of engagement while building a strong online community.   Instagram offers a variety of creative ways to share content with your Followers, and continually updates its features, business insights, and overall functionality.

Given that Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s important to note that both social media networks are ad-based revenue companies.  Therefore, paid advertising should certainly play a recurring role in your long-term Instagram marketing strategy.  However, if you maximize your posts for discovery, some organic reach is still possible!  

Here are five tips for prepping your Instagram posts to maximize local reach.  

  • Include your location

Since location-based posts become discoverable when Instagram users search by location, don’t forget to include this nugget of information.  To broaden your reach, occasionally change up the location by choosing your city, region, or state.  

  • Locally focused hashtags

Hashtags have long been a part of gaining new followers on Instagram, and even more so now that hashtags can be followed.  Do your research and document popular hashtags specific to your area.  

  • Combined hashtags

The actual name of your business or a hashtag created for your business or products are both great ways to reinforce your brand.  However, you can also include a hashtag that combines your business name or product with your location.   For example, a bakery located in Boston may include #bostoncoffee, to reflect both a popular menu item and their location.  

  • Exterior shots

Sprinkle your posts with eye-catching images of your storefront or street to help users easily recognize you.  Play around with the best times of days to capture natural light.  Interesting weather, sunsets, and sunrises are also fun, engaging images and videos to share.

  • Incorporate local events

Stay in tune with local events and happenings in your area.  An annual road race or charity walk, for example, presents a unique opportunity to show community support.  Even better if you or an employee is participating, or your business is sponsoring!  

Bonus Tip:

Save your Instagram Stories that include a geotag to your camera roll for repurposing 



Making Website Maintenance Collaborative

Digital Maids Website Maintenance

Making Website Maintenance Collaborative

Website maintenance should be a collaborative effort.   Employees add value to a company website, and a strong digital presence often translates into a healthy business.  However, corralling content from various stakeholders is challenging.  Particularly when there is little or no process in place.  This is where a good file sharing app such as Google Docs or Evernote can help you meet your website updating goals.

Take advantage of the ease and convenience of file sharing apps to involve key content holders in the website updating process.  This does not mean you need to hire additional people to do the actual updating of your website.  File sharing apps are a tool for the content providers and web professional to communicate.  These apps offer a convenient, streamlined approach to organizing and prioritizing content updates.

Multi-Content Providers

Even small businesses have multi-content providers. The perspective of a specific job role or position within a business brings with it a unique set of content and knowledge- and some of that content is valuable to the website.  A sales team member will most likely have first-hand knowledge of pricing or product descriptions, while an HR  person can be a huge asset in fleshing out staff bios and images. 

Capturing all of these varying perspectives and nuggets of company information with a seamless, trackable process can dramatically improve the quality and freshness of your website.  

Case Study – Google Docs

I have worked on and off for two years with a nonprofit that has a staff of approximately twelve people.  Identifying which employee had the correct, updated content needed for the website was an ongoing issue.  Some staff worked remotely, some worked multiple roles.  Individual requests for content became an endless, an ultimately fruitless cycle.  

Under new leadership, ensuring an updated website was high on the priority list.  After a few long email threads, Google Docs was suggested as a solution to manage and track website updates.   After carefully creating a document that was easy to access, understand, and update, we started to see progress.

A shareable, breathable list of what the website needed, was in fact, exactly what the website needed!  We were able to quickly document website pages, paragraphs, or even single sentences that required attention.  With a clearly designated “Status” column in Google Docs, all involved in the process could see what needed to be done, who was responsible, and what had already been accomplished.

Greater visibility and providing a convenient way to communicate updates significantly reduced the time getting the content, confirming it was the right content, and having it posted. There was great satisfaction in seeing results!

Tips

To use file sharing effectively, put some thought into organizing what is essentially a shared to-do list for your website.   Always include:

  • An URL field
    Everyone has to be looking at the same content!
  • A Priority field
    Some website content is nice-to-have, some is time sensitive and must-to-have. Communicate time sensitivity and your web person will know what to do first.
  • Archive
    Avoid a long cluttered list of action items by archiving completed updates



Updating Your Website for the New Year

New Year New Website Digital Maids

Updating Your Website for the New Year

Yes, it is already February.  Have you found time to update your website and social media business pages for the new year?  If you have not done so already, take twenty minutes to perform the following updates listed below.   Making these small changes lets inbound visitors to your website know you are open for business.

Website

Update the copyright year

Typically located in the footer, this is a quick way to show the world on EVERY page of your website that you are an active business.  Although some website themes may update copyright information automatically, it is important to confirm. Related to the copyright…

Header and footer 

Perform a quick review of all links and content in the header and footer.  Header and footer content is critical because it is highly visible and often links to your social media networks and other pertinent contact information.  Be sure all links are working correctly and contact information is accurate.  

Contact form

Update your contact form to incorporate the new year.  “How can help we reach your goals in 2018?”, for example, or “we look forward to working with you in 2018!”.  If you have a particular time of year that is busy, relay this information to potential customers, and articulate how best they can arrange time to meet with you. 

Holiday Content

You know that house that still has a Christmas or holiday themed wreath hanging on their front door? Don’t be that house in the digital world.  Remove or update any holiday-related content or promotions, particularly on your homepage.  Consider replacing it with a show of appreciation – “thank you to all our customers for making 2017 amazing.” If you don’t have time to draft fresh copy, repurpose existing content.  Your company history, for example, or a short summary your of your most popular products and services. 

Social Media Networks

If you do not have time to post new content to your social media channels, take a quick scan of the most prominent areas on your social pages and give them updates.  This includes:

  • Update any pinned posts and call to action buttons
  • Update any profile or cover photos that have a holiday theme
  • Review of your automated replies
  • Review of your website links, particularly for Instagram bios.  Instagram only gives you one link, make the most of it!

Even if it’s not perfect, completing the above tasks sends the right signal to your customers and prospects.  That you are present and open for business!

 



6 Ways non-profits can thank sponsors on Social Media

How Non-Profits Thank Sponsors on Social Media

6 Ways non-profits can thank sponsors on Social Media

Corporate sponsorships play an integral role in non-profit fundraising and are usually critical to achieving financial goals.  Given their importance, acknowledging sponsors on your social media networks should be an essential piece in your overall social media strategy.  Ultimately, you want your sponsor to return for future fundraising initiatives.  Making your sponsor feel special is one way to make that happen. 

Social media networks continually add new features and functionality and these changes can be daunting to stay on top of.  Fortunately, however, these updates present fun and innovative ways to recognize the generosity of your sponsors.  If your current online thank you consists of visiting your sponsor’s website, grabbing their logo and posting a grainy, poorly formatted image, it’s time to show your gratitude with some of these suggestions:

Share their Social Media Page with your Followers

This is perhaps the easiest way to express appreciation while giving your sponsors social media accounts some added visibility.  In your accompanying text, be sure to capture why your sponsor is unique and/or an asset to the community.  Your followers will only need that magical 1-click to check out, and hopefully, follow your sponsor’s page.

Thank you via Stories

Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat all have a Stories feature – bite-size content that is only viewable for twenty-four hours.  Use this feature to give a thank you shout out.  If you are low on visual content, a selfie with fun and correlating stickers will do nicely.  Given the short lifespan of this content, make it light in tone, and crisp and to the point! 

Bonus – tag your sponsors Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat business page in your Story. 

Create a video thank you

Post a short video with the Chairperson or well-known board member of your non-profit communicating your thank you. This type of post can be memorable, particularly if you can share a little-known story, or spotlight the sponsor’s philanthropy. 

Bonus– If the sponsor’s organization is local, go the extra mile and create the video in their store or office. 

Promote product and services of your sponsor

Is your sponsor in the midst of promoting a new product or event?  Use your social media thank you to give it some timely online exposure.  For this kind of content, be sure to always post high-quality pictures or video.  You want everything about your sponsor – their products, their storefront, their employees – displayed in the best possible light. 

Share sponsor media highlights

Do you have a sponsor that distributes a lot of press releases, receives regular positive media mentions, or is periodically in the news? Share a favorable article with a caption that incorporates your thank you.

Create the post or review on their page

If your sponsor has a Facebook page, extend the shelf life of your accolades by posting directly to their page in the form of a visitor post or review.  When visitors come to check out the sponsor’s Facebook content, your comments will be seen.  In general, these types of posts greatly improve the validity of the page.

Yes, staying informed about the constantly shifting features of social media can be difficult.  However, each time a social media network introduces a new feature or type of content that can be shared presents a new opportunity for your non-profit to thank your sponsors.

How to Approve Visitor Posts to Your Facebook Business Page

Digital Maids How to Approve Visitor Post to Your Facebook Page

How to Approve Visitor Posts to Your Facebook Business Page

Many business owners opt to review visitor posts to their Facebook Business Page prior to making them public.  This option is exercised for a variety of reasons – unhappy former employees, not enough resources to monitor the page in real time, or simply ensuring nothing inflammatory is aired on their page.

Regardless of the reason, here is how to review and then make public visitor posts to your Facebook Page.

Approving Facebook Visitor Posts to Your Page

Note: These instructions are for laptop, not mobile

Kick these 5 lazy Social Media habits

Digital Maids Create Better Social Media Content

 

Create better content by kicking these 5 lazy Social Media habits

The amount of online content is crushing all of us, particularly on social media.  On Facebook alone, 510,000 comments are posted, 293,000 statuses are updated, and 136,000 photos are uploaded every 60 seconds.  This explosion of content impacts both the businesses using social media for marketing as well as the users they are hoping to reach.

If you are a content marketer or small business owner managing your own social media pages, it can be tempting to take a few shortcuts in the hopes getting your content out ahead of the pack.  However, not all shortcuts are created equal.  Resist the urge to sacrifice quality!  Just like you, your customers have only 24 hours in their day.  Don’t clog their social media feeds with subpar content.   Reward their attention and time by giving them your best.  To up the quality of your content and overall social media presence, avoid falling into these 5 common lazy social media habits.

Retweet without reading

According to a recent study, 6 out of 10 social media users share links without reading them.  Yikes!  How can you expect to be influential if you don’t know what you have shared beyond the title?  Some organizations are considering ways to combat this type of thoughtless sharing.  For example, Facebook is currently looking into letting users know how widely a link has been read when it is shared.  If you’re going to share, first read the article, and even better, offer your Followers value in the form of adding your key takeaway or insight.

Not formatting images

The optimal image dimensions for posts in Facebook’s newsfeed differ from Instagram or Twitter.  In fact, each social media network has its own recommended height and width for sharing images.  Take the time to format your images accordingly.  Apps such as Canva and PicMonkey will help simplify the process.  Ditto for copy and captions.  A caption crafted for maximum Facebook exposure probably won’t play well on Twitter. Take the time to write in the style best suited to the platform your Follower are using.

All thumbs up and hearts, no comments

Yes, liking other users post is an important component of engagement and building your online community, but go the extra mile or keyboard stroke and comment or react.  What about the image or post initially grabbed your attention?  It is also worth noting that Facebook now ranks reactions higher, which impacts your Insights.  So let other users feel your engagement.  With persistence, what goes around comes around! 

Auto sharing

You know those Twitter accounts that simply automatically share all of their Facebook status updates?  Do you read them?  Chances are, no one is reading yours either.  Creating and posting all of your content for one social media channel and then auto sharing it to all of your other networks should not be your sole strategy.   In some ways, it’s not respecting the other networks and its users.  A social media scheduler such at Hootesuite or HubSpot can help you create and schedule unique posts tailored for each of your networks.

All media, no social

Social media is two words.  Many businesses focus so much on the media, they forget the social piece.  When you receive a lot of comments on your Instagram post, do you take the time to respond or acknowledge? Not every post has to be an overt promotional sell.  Take the time to share gratitude, a personal side, or humor.   Ultimately, the attentiveness that is required to be successful in real life social situation holds true for thriving in social media.   

Like all forms of marketing, social media works best when you heed even the smallest of details. 

 

5 Quick Ways to Give Your Site a Weblift

Originally posted in October 2014, updated January 2017

Digital Maids 5 Website Content Update TipsIf the idea of adding “update the company website” to your to-do list seems daunting and time consuming, it’s probably the reason why you keep putting if off for another day.  However, each day that you delay puts into a motion a vicious cycle. You continue to not give the attention your website needs to be a positive online experience for your visitors and stay SEO friendly, while the content updates continue to pile up, requiring even more time.

When the first impression of a website is one of stale content, no one will spend a lot of time on your website.

Break the cycle of content neglect by taking a few minutes to perform the following 5 updates. None of these updates require an extended amount of time to perform and will create a fresh updated look for your site that both visitors and search engines will value.

Continue reading

Instagram Caption Tip

If your marketing strategy opts for longer captions on your Instagram posts, be sure to break up the text with line breaks.    Large, long blocks of text can be tedious to read on Instagram, and your Followers may end up skipping over your well-written caption.

See below on where to find the Return button on an iPhone to make your Instagram captions as visually appealing as they are creatively written!

Instagram Caption Tip Digital Maids Marblehead MA

BONUS!

Add hashtags as a comment to present a clean, easy to read caption.  This way, when you share your Instagram photo to your other social media channels, the hashtags will stay on Instagram, and only your great caption will be shared.

 

Customizing your LinkedIn Profile

Make it easy to connect on LinkedIn by customizing your public profile URL

What’s easier to remember, www.linkedin.com/in/sheilaheff or www.linkedin.com/in/sheilaheffernan-21a1b836 ?

Ditch the assigned numbers and make your LinkedIn profile more memorable and shareable by customizing your profile URL.

Select Profile>Edit Profile>Update your public profile settings.

LinkedIn Tip Digital Maids Marblehead MA

BONUS!

Don’t forget to add your customized link to your email signature!

 

 

Facebook Image Sizing Cheat Sheet

When you manage a Facebook Business Page, knowing the right size and dimensions for your images goes beyond just your profile picture.  How will your images display when you create an Event, share a link, or sponsor a story in the news feed?

This comprehensive Facebook Image Cheat Sheet, courtesy of TechWyse, is a huge time saver for Page Managers.   When it comes to Facebook,  high quality visual content is vital.  Be sure your images display to their maximum potential both on the desktop and mobile.

 

[ Source TechWyse Internet Marketing ]