How to create and curate an inspiring and engaging Instagram feed

We’ve all followed people or brands on Instagram because we enjoy the content that they post, but similarly we’ve likely also unfollowed Instagram accounts as a result of poor content, lack of continuity and unclear narratives. If you’re looking to increase your social media following and keep those all important numbers consistent, here are a few little tips to keep in mind.

1. Have a vision of how you want your Instagram feed to develop.

Before you start posting all of your wonderful content, have a plan for how you want your feed to develop over time. Consider the flow of your page and how you’ll alternate different types of posts in order to keep your page fresh and exciting for your existing followers. A well developed page will also likely entice new followers who visit your page

2. Choose a theme that you can be dedicated to.

Consistency really is key. Keep your theme in line with your branding and/ or personality. A well thought out theme will create a social media flow that becomes well recognised by your audience as they’re scrolling. It’s also important to keep your captions relatively consistent; if they’re usually lengthy captions filled with information and facts, keep it this way, so that your followers can always rely on your content. Such well aligned content will create an air of confidence and stability where your brand is concerned.

3. Have authentic content.

Social media trends will unlikely stand the test of time, so instead of jumping on the bandwagon, think about posting content that is unique rather than content that is popular at the time. A social media trend can mean anything from a colour scheme to using an effect/ filter on your images. Being authentic from the get-go will work wonders and in time, you’ll be recognised for your ethos and values.

4. Ask yourself ‘would I follow this account?’

If you wouldn’t, then it’s time to get back to the drawing board and reconsider your strategy and your content.

Follow these steps and you will see organic growth develop on your Instagram page!

Good luck!

 

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Running a successful competition on Facebook and Instagram

 

It recently came to our attention that Facebook and Instagram have quite strict rules around their terms and conditions for competitions. They are constantly changing their T’s and C’s and it’s our job as social media managers to stay in the know and keep you up to date with what’s happening.

In this blog, we cover the competition rules that might surprise you as well as go over some tips and tricks on how to run a successful competition on social media.

Facebook T’s and C’s

We have all gotten used to running a competition on Facebook where someone has to “like and share” the post or they have to “tag someone and share the post” to win. With Facebook’s T’s and C’s this is now a big no! If you ask your audience to tag someone or to share the post on their page, Facebook can not only ban your business Facebook page indefinitely, but they will delete the personal pages of the people who are admin on the page. Yikes!

The other crucial condition is that you need to put the following into the fine print of your promotional post:

“This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered of associated with Facebook”.

To read the full list of T’s and C’s, click here.

Instagram T’s and C’s

Instagram is very similar to Facebook’s T’s and C’s, however is a little bit more flexible. The most important exception to not is that Instagram doesn’t forbid the use of tagging or sharing as an entry method.

To read the full list of T’s and C’s, click here.

Top tips for running a successful competition:

1. Create a mini- strategy for your competition before you start.

What is the purpose for the competition? Is it to gain more followers, drive people to your website, increase revenue in your business? Think about; what you call to action is going to be, how you are going to engage people to enter your competition and where you are going to cross- promote it.

2. Promote it everywhere you can!

So often we see people run a competition on their Facebook page...and then it gets lost in the noise of the busy platform. When you post your competition up, LAUNCH it everywhere! Pop up a temporary Facebook cover page, pop it on your Instagram page and story, email it out to your database, put it in your email signatures with a link to enter, and put up a temporary website banner (or just have it on your homepage temporarily).

3. Drive the engagement around your competition

If people get excited about your competition, it means you're onto a winner! (hehe excuse the pun). Log into your page daily and like, comment, thank and engage with your followers who are getting in behind your competition.

4. Announce the winner properly

Before you publicly announce the winner of the prize, you must contact them privately and make sure that they accept the prize. Once accepted, tell everyone! Have an exciting post to the page announcing the winner, and again, post it across your other social media platforms.

5. Finally….. Use the competition as a sales funnel to gain new customers

Once you have announced the winner, go back to everyone who entered the competition properly and thank them for entering. If you are able to, offer them a mini-prize such as 10% off their next purchase or buy 1 get 1 free next time they come in! Not only will you leverage off having new customers….but they will be sure to enter your next competition!

Good luck! If you ever need help, feel free to get in touch with us on hello@thesocialprojectagency.com

Rachel & Sarah-Jane x

 

We have launched an Influencer Marketing Agency!

 


We have launched an Influencer Marketing Agency!

We’re so excited to announce that we’ve just launched ‘Influenced’, our new Influencer marketing service.

‘Influenced’ is a service that strives to connect brands with social media Influencers that are sure to add significant value to social media campaigns. We’ve always loved using Influencers wherever possible because of the advantageous audience reach that it offers our clients, so this seemed like a natural step for our growing brand.

We endeavour to cleverly pair brands and Influencers that will complement each other in equal measures, to create the most incredible social media strategy. This new process will involve finding the best fitting influencer for the brand, facilitating the project and following up with both the brand and influencer. Our point of difference is that we strive to look after our influencers…from producing media packs to holding workshops! We think that our efforts in this field will ensure that we’re able to deliver the very best content.

Using Influencers adds significant value to a brand’s social media so we can’t wait to start this exciting adventure.

 

Is Vero the new social media hero, or should we veer away?

 

It’s been donned the ‘truly social network’ that operates without ‘algorithms, ads or bots’, but can Vero really threaten proven favourites such as Instagram and Facebook? We’re doubtful, but let’s investigate!

Pros of Vero:

  • Vero is 100% ad free. So, instead of concentrating on monetising its users, Vero likes to spend it’s time creating the best social media experience possible.

  • You won’t have to ‘boost’ your posts. The Vero feed isn’t curated or manipulated. Quite simply, it’s composed of posts from people you follow.

  • They’re trying to make social media, more social. Vero are evidently aware of the addictive nature of platforms of a similar ilk, so they’ve introduced a feature that allows users to monitor time spent using the app.

Cons of Vero:

  • At present, all new users have been gifted free access to the platform for life. Surely sounds like a plus? Not so fast. This offer is extended only until further notice until price plans are unveiled. We wonder how a paid platform will ever attract as many users as free alternatives.

  • The platform has experienced mega service interruptions. Whilst a statement claims that the interruptions were a result of a massive amounts of new users, we’re kinda sceptical.

  • Have you heard of Vero before? It was founded in 2013 and still isn’t on the radars of the masses. If you’re a brand looking to make a splash on social media, choosing this lesser known platform may not prove fruitful.

Our verdict:

Overall, we don’t think that Vero is going to bowl over its competitors over night. It could be worthwhile creating a page before their prices plans come into play. We’ve done our homework and whilst we’ll be keeping tabs on Vero, we don’t think that time needs to be invested in this platform just yet.

Check out our Vero page: The Social Project / Learn more: https://www.vero.co/

 

Social media tips for service based businesses

 

Creating Facebook and Instagram content for service-based businesses is hard. We often hear service based businesses say that they struggle with social media because it is not relevant to their industry. The common misconception is that social media is best suited to product based businesses. Although it is easier to create posts for product based businesses, there is definitely a space and a need for service base businesses on social media.

What sort of content should a service base business post? We have highlighted below out top five tips on how to go about creating relevant and interesting content that will make your business stand out on Facebook and Instagram.

1. The first step in creating valuable content is to make it about your potential clients,

and not about you and your services. Think about how you can help them, and then overdeliver.

2. As a service based business, a video strategy is one of the most important things to focus on. Videos are trending on social media. So find a videographer and work with them on a plan of attack! If there is talking in your video, be sure to use captions as 80% of people view social media with the sound off.

3. Start a Facebook live video - consider a webinar where you coach and help your audience as an expert in your field. It's a great way to get attention for free and it will grow the awareness of your page and services, encouraging people to follow you on social media.

4. Set up a Facebook group in your field or industry. As the organic reach on Facebook and Instagram has dropped, Facebook groups have become an essential platform for businesses to promote and grow their brand.

5. If setting up a Facebook group is not your thing, then you should definitely join a Facebook group! Research what groups your ideal clients are in and then join those groups. Interacting in a Facebook group is a great way to network and help other members with advice. If you participate and focus on being a helpful group member, rather than trying to promote your business, it will lead to business over time.

Good luck!

Rachel & Sarah-Jane xx

 

How to get your hashtags right

 

Hashtags are crucial to getting your Instagram page noticed. But what are they? And what are the best hashtags to use? And what are the 60,000 banned hashtags?

Hashtags are essentially a mini search engine. People will look up hashtags when they are searching for something, normally for inspiration, ideas or for information. That’s why it is imperative that you are using straight forward, searchable hashtags. Instagram will let you use up to thirty hashtags per post. If you are a new business, we recommend making the most of this and going for gold! Gone are the days where multiple hashtags were “uncool”. Hashtags will ensure that more people find your business and your beautiful content.

How do you figure out what hashtags are best for your business?

There are several common hashtags that are the most popular on Instagram. To view some of the most popular Instagram hashtags, click here. Another great idea is to have a look at what other businesses are hashtagging. You can follow certain hashtags and keep across what people are posting to these hashtags - are they similar to your posts? Is your target audience liking and commenting on these posts? Make a diary note and keep track of the most popular and relevant hashtags for your business.

Where do you place your hashtags?

You want to make sure that you seperate your hashtags from your caption. The best way to do this, is to insert dots and then have your hashtag bundle at the bottom, as opposed to putting them into a comment.

Are there any banned hashtags?

There are several banned hashtags that you can’t put into your bundle. If you post any of these, then none of your hashtags will work in the search engine, which will limit the performance of your post! To view the hashtags that Instagram banned in 2017, click here.

Finally, the best tip we can give you is to keep refreshing your hashtag bundles and ensure that the hashtags you use are current, popular and trending! Not to mention, relative to your business.

Good luck!

Rachel & Sarah-Jane.

 

Facebook and Instagram algorithm changes & what it means for your business

 

Facebook and Instagram recently announced that they have changed its algorithm to promote more personal content rather than news or product. Almost immediately, businesses saw a drop off in their reach and engagement results. In the past, posts featured at the top of newsfeeds according to the time they were posted. For example, if you posted when the majority of your audience was online, your reach was more likely to be larger, giving your brand better exposure on the social media platform. Now, Facebook and Instagram have limited your reach to 30% of your total follower count on average, allowing the algorithm to decide what content should be displayed in your audience’s feed. Free flowing content has turned into regulated content, driving businesses to pay for adverts and boosts, just so that their content can be seen.

 

How can you ensure your content is still seen?

Here at The Social Project, we are actually quite excited about the changes…….. It means that high quality, curated content will feature for longer on both Facebook and Instagram and therefore more likely to get better engagement. It’s all about quality over quantity! You won’t need a huge audience for your content to be seen, as long as your audience is engaged with what you are posting and are liking or commenting on it, you will continue to grow and develop your Facebook or Instagram page.

What we will see next is the expansion of influencer marketing. Connecting with Influencers who have a growing audience that they truly understand will be the key for most businesses. It will become the most effective way to influence consumer behavior via social media. This is why we are collaborating with local influencers to work with us on content and keep it relevant and popular.

It will also be crucial to understand what the ambition of your brand or product is and then align it with your target audience. With the right data and social listening, you can unearth your target audience and figure out what appeals the most to them and then curate your content accordingly.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop us an email or give us a call.

 

Moroccan photography tour

 

Visiting Morocco is a must. From the hustle and bustle of the Marrakech Medina to the quiet alleyways of Chefchaouen and the wide open spaces in the Sahara Desert, Morocco is filled with excitement, bold colours and adventure. It’s a destination that everyone who is interested in photography or design should visit.

I was lucky enough to spend two weeks travelling around Morocco for the Polkadot Passport & Is This Real Photography tour. We started in Casablanca and finished in Marrakesh.

My main purpose for this trip was to get my passion for photography back and learn some new skills along the way. I have been a photographer for many years now, studying it throughout high school and university, and worked as an event photographer for Media Works Canterbury, but somewhere along the way, I lost my passion for photography and it became just part of my job, instead of something I enjoyed.

With a mix of amazing teachers and surrounded in a beautiful setting, I found myself wanting to pull my camera out at every moment (and to use it on manual settings!) and it was on the streets of Morocco that I rediscovered my passion for photography. There is something about learning while you are out and about, that really helps to commit everything to memory.

Although the purpose of this trip was to reignite my lost love with photography, I also gained so much more. When you are on a trip like this one, you always meet the most incredible people, who are doing inspiring things! In addition, I went on several adventures, ate a lot of good food (although by the end I didn’t want anymore couscous or tagine for awhile) and felt motivated by the unique designs that Morocco has to offer.

As a designer, it is hard not to be invigorated by the Moorish design and architecture, as well as the bold and unique colour combinations. Everywhere I turned there was a new design style, whether it be a mix of turquoise and green tiles, beautifully framed mosques or a dusty pink building.

One of my favourite things about Morocco was that there was this beautiful contrast. There was contrariety in every moment. The contrast between the way people live, contrast between the old and the new buildings, there was even contrast in noise. You can move from the peace and quiet of a Riad immediately into the loud hustle and bustle of the Medina, and within moments you are transported between two different worlds. This was not only a magical experience, but also an inspirational one, as it made me think about graphic design, and how within moments it can transport you from one space to another.

This is something that I always aim to do with both my graphic design and photography. As we head into 2018, I am really excited to use all of my new found skills and Morroccan inspiration in our projects next year.

 

MOST PHOTOGENIC SPOTS IN MOROCCO

I have put together a few of my favourite photography spots to inspire you to take a trip to Morocco!

 

Sahara Desert

 
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The Todgha Gorge

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Riad Yasmine

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Bahia Palace

 
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Hassan ll Mosque

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Fez Medina

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x3 Apps That Will Make Managing Your Social Media Easier!

 

There have been several “ahh haa” moments for us, when we have discovered various apps which have now made our lives much easier! We were managing over ten Instagram accounts and everyday we would constantly have alarms going off, reminding us to login and post to Instagram for a client. This not only created chaos, but confusion and room for error, which as an agency, we couldn’t afford.

That’s when we discovered PLANN. We are so excited to share the Plann app with you! Although it isn’t a free, this app is worth it’s weight in gold! For $19.99 NZD per month, it’s been a game changer for us. Plann is a visual planning app which allows you to schedule your Instagram content in advance. With a drag and drop function, you can have a play around with the look and feel of your page before you publish any posts. Once you are happy with how the post looks, you can crop, edit and filter it, before scheduling the post. At this stage, the posts don’t go live on their own, but you can preload the copy, hashtags and set an alarm for when you want it to go live. At that time, an alarm will go off, reminding you to copy and paste it to your Instagram page. If you have multiple accounts, you can prepare and schedule all of your posts in advance, freeing up your week to work on other areas of your business.

We also love TRELLO. If you haven’t heard of Trello yet - let us introduce you to your new business diary! Forget writing to do lists (which you always lose), Trello boards enable you to create checklists, client cards, reminders and more. You can organise and prioritise your projects in a fun, flexible and satisfying way. You will ace your time management skills, and you will never lose your to do list again! Trello is available as an app on mobile and mac.

Finally, we have one last secret tip to share with you. If you can’t always get access to your graphic designer, but you need to get something done quickly (and it is relatively simple), then you will love CANVA. Canva is a site where you can gain access to thousands of online templates which you can easily chop and change to make your own. Although it is not as polished as getting a graphic designer to do produce a body of work for you, it is a great help when you have an urgent post, invite or flyer to create!

Have fun exploring these apps! We hope that they make your day a little easier.

Rachel & Sarah-Jane xx

 

https://www.plannthat.com

https://www.trello.com

https://www.canva.com

 

The rise of Instagram

 

Instagram is growing so quickly that it is now an essential marketing platform for businesses worldwide and rivals Facebook for popularity! We personally love working with Instagram for our clients and use it as a space to organically grow and develop a brand in a unique and curated environment.

We took a look at the latest statistics that have been presented....and they are impressive!

  • 800 million active monthly users

  • 500 million daily active users

  • 20% of internet users are on Instagram

  • At a monthly rate of 16% and is the fastest growing social media platform

  • 50% of businesses on Instagram produce stories

  • 8 million business profiles

For the 8 million businesses on Instagram, there is an 800 million potential audience reach.

So if you are not on Instagram yet, we encourage you to download the app and get snapping! If you need help with your set up or would like your content created and managed for you- get in touch with us on hello@thesocialprojectagency.com and we can help. We manage accounts worldwide so location is not an issue!

 

Work smarter, not harder

 

“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.”

— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

I think as we are growing up we get told that the more we work, the more successful we will be, but I don't see this as being the truth. I believe that it is more about the energy and quality of the time that we put into our craft.

I came to realise this when I was working a 9-5 job. The hours were there... But for some reason, this wasn't reflecting in my work. The amount of work that I would get done in those 8 hours, is about what I could get done in 4 hours now. But why? Because now I understand how my brain works, and I use this to my advantage. After a year of working for myself, I have discovered how to work smarter, not harder.

“Sit still and our minds want to ramble. Get up and start walking, and our minds can slow down and be more foccused. ”

— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

I realised that I work best in small doses. Two hours in the morning, then walk my puppy, another hour, then a yoga break, maybe another couple of hours, then a long lunch etc... It is in these moments of 'taking a break' that my brain starts to function better and come up some of my best ideas. And it is not just me, research shows that it is not about how many hours you work, it is about what you put into those hours, and how you look after yourself when you are not working. A study done by the Organization for Economic European Countries (OECD) shows that among European countries, Greece was number one in hours worked, Poland was second, and Hungry third. Their productivity rankings however, were eighteenth, twenty-fourth, and twenty-fifth (dead last). Working the fewest hours were the Dutch, Germans and Norwegians, who came in at fourth, seventh and first in productivity.  

But sadly we still live in a society where success is determined by stress, money and burnout. This idea is what used to make me feel so guilty when I took the afternoon off, or even when I had a lunch break. But after reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington I decided to change the way I work. Arianna talks about this issue in such a raw, and honest way, from someone who has experienced this world first hand. She is looking to redefine what it means to be successful in today's world. This has made such an impact not only on my business but also on my life. I no longer feel guilty for taking a random Wednesday off to go skiing (I did this last week) or taking the afternoon off to hang with friends. This is because I understand that living a third metric life is more beneficial for my business, as well as my well-being.

“Over time our society’s notion of success has been reduced to money and power. In fact, at this point, success, money, and power have practically become synonymous in the minds of many. This idea of success can work— or at least appear to work— in the short term. But over the long term, money and power by themselves are like a two- legged stool— you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over.”

— Arianna Huffington, Thrive

So if you are feeling as though you are working too many hours, and getting nothing done, then maybe it is just time for a break. Grab a copy of Thrive, pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee, and just relax. Trust me, your work will be better off because of it!

 

Why your business should consider using Pinterest

 

There are so many social media platforms out there it can be hard to choose which one is the right medium for your business. Social media is time-consuming and sometimes it can feel like you are making small gains and not really “cracking it” which leaves you wondering if it’s really worth it at all. In a series of blog posts, we are going to discuss each online platform, covering key their statistics in order to help you determine what ones are the key to tapping into your target audience. When you think of social media, Facebook instantly comes to mind, followed closely by Instagram. However, Pinterest should be high on your priority list and here’s some reasons why.

 

  1. It is the fastest growing social media website.

  2. For the 2016 period, Pinterest grew by 57% compared to Facebook’s 6% growth. There are 110 million monthly users…. the numbers are huge. You can get your brand out there in front of this many users for free!

  3. Pinners like to spend money.

  4. Pinners aren’t merely window shoppers. They actually like to buy stuff based on the pins they see. What’s more, several social media surveys show that Pinterest users not only buy more, they also spend more. Shopify users referred by Pinterest, for example, spend an average of $80 compared to Facebook referral of $40.

  5. Pins are more likely to grow viral.

  6. Over 80% of pins are re-pins, compared to 1.4% of tweets re-tweeted. The powers that be

  7. behind this viral ability are Pinterest’s search function and category algorithms. While Twitter rely on trends that are ever-changing, Pinterest has categories that are pretty much grouped based on similarity and tagging.

  8. Pins last longer.

  9. The average useful lifespan of a Tweet is measured in minutes. Facebook and Instagram posts exist in newsfeeds for a few hours. An average pin can come up in search months after it was posted. Its longevity can be attributed to the way it is used compared with other social media sites. While Facebook and Twitter are mostly used to reminisce the past or analyse the present, Pinterest is used to plan. Boards are created by the users to be aspirational – weddings, do-it- yourself decorating, arts and crafts, and party recipes – which means that pins can be repinned so many times over.

  10. Pinterest is considered a credible and trusted site among consumers.

  11. Pinterest pins are worth more than Facebook likes. Consumers referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to actually purchase than those referred by Facebook; Pinterest grabs around 41% of e commerce traffic compared to other social media sites. Twenty-five percent of Fortune Global 100 companies have Pinterest accounts, which is pretty impressive considering Pinterest’s age (as compared with other older social media networking sites).